Hossein Vafaei has recorded the biggest win of his career, seeing off Judd Trump 5-3 to reach the semi-finals of the Bank of Beijing China Open.
Vafaei, who is Iran’s only professional player, has also confirmed his place on the tour next season by virtue of his run this week in Beijing.
Defeat for the in-form Trump, who made the third maximum break of his career yesterday, ends his bid to reach a fourth consecutive final.
It was a confident opening from the 22-year-old Vafaei, who moved 2-0 ahead courtesy of breaks of 45 and 74. After Trump won the third, Vafaei compiled a century run of exactly 100 to go into the interval 3-1 up.
When they returned from the break it was quick-fire snooker to the finish, with none of the remaining frames stretching beyond the 20 minute mark. Trump took the fifth frame to pull within one and he was then level at 3-3 after making a contribution of 66 to snatch the next on the black.
Hossein appeared to be unfazed by the big match situation and responded with a contribution of 106. He then potted a clutch final pink in the eighth frame to secure a 5-3 win.
Mark Williams boosted his hopes qualifying directly for the World Championship with a 5-1 demolition of 2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy.
The three-time China Open Champion needs to lift the title again to knock compatriot Ryan Day out of the world’s top 16 and clinch his place at the Crucible.
The match started promisingly for the Magician, who made a break of 56 on his way to taking the opener. However, from that point on the 18-time ranking winner Williams took control.
There weren’t an abundance of high breaks in the match, but Williams was getting the better of the tight frames. He came from behind to level the scores in the second. Williams then stole what proved to be a pivotal third frame on the final black and that set the tone for the remaining exchanges.
The two-time World Champion reeled off the next three frames to progress to the last four, where he’ll face Vafaei for a place in the final.
“Nobody wants to go to the qualifiers. However, I put my mind to it about two or three months ago that it was more than likely that I would be there,” said Williams. “I’d love to get to another final, it’s been a while. If I won it would be fantastic. To have already won this event twice is unbelievable but if I could make it a third it would be extra special.”