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By Ben Parsons at the Crucible
Judd Trump survived a Crucible comeback for the ages from Mark Williams to defeat the Welshman 17-16 in a dramatic decider of an epic World Championship semi-final.
Williams, 47, trailed Trump 12-5 but produced some of the most scintillating snooker ever seen at the sport’s spiritual home to reel off 11 of the next 14 frames and lead for the first time at 16-15.
But nerveless 2019 champion Trump responded to edge the penultimate frame and treat the awed Crucible crowd to a decider.
And Trump, who raised his arms to the crowd before breaking off to lift the iconic theatre to fever-pitch, got his decisive chance when Williams missed a high-pressure blue following a remarkable fluke on a red.
The world number four broke down on 50, but was in again after a second fluked cross-double of the frame and showed his mettle to finally get over the line and seal his place in a third world final.
"It was like playing away from home."
Judd Trump is through to the Betfred World Snooker Championship Final after beating Mark Williams 17-16, but the crowd were in support of Mark.#ilovesnooker @wearewst pic.twitter.com/DnLUbUSZPB
— Betfred (@Betfred) April 30, 2022
Trump was overcome with relief after the breathless drama as he remained on course for a second Crucible crown.
“There were so many emotions from having a big lead to going down 16-15 and thinking I was out,” he said.
"I knew he would fight back at some point but he [Williams] played unbelievable and I was just sat there. It made it easier for me to take because I was not doing much wrong.
"I was actually enjoying watching him and he was incredible.
“I was praying he was going to make some mistakes and I had all my luck in the last frame. For two of them [cross doubles] to go your way you know it is your day."
Williams meanwhile, matched Trump’s tally of four centuries in the match and was in inspired form as he threatened one of the all-time great comebacks.
The three-time champion equalled Stephen Hendry’s 20-year record of 16 centuries in one World Championship and played his part in a classic despite falling agonisingly short.
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) April 30, 2022
Williams said: “At one stage he looked like he could win with a session to spare.
“I knew when I came back to two behind, I had a great chance and I had him on the ropes.
“I had all the momentum and put him under a lot of pressure. I put so much pressure on him and he was gone.
“I felt like I had 80% of the crowd on my side and it was electric all the way through.
“To get back from 12-5 down to 16-15 in front is unbelievable and I hit him with everything but just came up a little bit short.”
He added: “To be honest I’d rather have lost 17-1 and got home yesterday but you’ve got to try haven’t you!”
Trump will face either Ronnie O’Sullivan or John Higgins in an unmissable final on Sunday.
O’Sullivan leads great rival Higgins 16-10 ahead of their final session as he bids to match legendary Scot Hendry’s record of seven world titles.