Judd Trump believes only two players in world snooker can beat him at his best, writes Will Jennings.
The world No.1 waltzed into the English Open final on Saturday night after toppling four-time king of the Crucible John Higgins 6-4 in Milton Keynes.
And there he will meet world No.3 Neil Robertson, who edged past three-time world champion Mark Selby in a 6-5 thriller earlier in the day.
Robertson won the 2010 World Championship and boasts 18 ranking event titles - but Trump reckons only two modern greats can lower his colours when he hits top form.
“In my eyes, there are two people that could beat me at my best,” the 2019 world champion said.
"I thought I got outplayed, really!"@judd147t is with @andygoldstein05 and @ronnieo147 - and has nice things to say about John Higgins 🤝— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) October 17, 2020
📺 Eurosport 1
💻📱 Uninterrupted coverage https://t.co/JLDmOSVhEv
📜 Live text commentary https://t.co/vTURsTac8W pic.twitter.com/pL4LO9cDqv
“And that’s Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins.
“I love John but I hope he doesn’t play any better than that! I honestly think so - I’ve played them both, I’ve played John and played amazing before and still lost in deciders.
“I’ve played Ronnie and played well and lost, and against all the other players I normally win comfortably. Those two for me, at their best, are leagues above anyone else in the world.
“John’s finding form again and at times he was looking back to his best there and I was fearing the worst.
“There’s not much you can do when John plays at his best, and you can play your best and still lose.
“John’s so good under pressure that anything can happen - he’s a dangerous, dangerous player.
“It was a tough game but I’m very pleased to be through to another final - it’s a good start at the season for me with a semis and now another final.”
Trump, who was stunned by world No.36 Martin Gould in the last four at the European Masters, was outscored by Higgins at the Marshall Arena but showed his class to battle over the line.
Both players exchanged early fifty-plus breaks before a century each either side of the mid-session interval handed Higgins a 3-2 lead.
17-time ranking event winner Trump hit back in the sixth frame, only for Higgins to strike a majestic effort of 107 to regain the advantage.
The Scot missed a golden opportunity to make it 5-3, however, as Trump capitalised in two scrappier frames to place him on the cusp of a 27th ranking event final.
And he got over the line in style as he held his nerve to strike a gutsy 73 and book a date with the Thunder from Down Under.
It's always tough to beat John Higgins, but that's what @judd147t has done tonight...— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) October 17, 2020
...to reach the final of the https://t.co/0mCRoqdsmX English Open!
When he walks out with Neil Robertson, he will become the first to play in five #HomeNations finals #EnglishOpen pic.twitter.com/CB28rJQCGG
Trump, 31, admits he was ‘outplayed’ by Higgins but knows if he turns up on Sunday, a third Home Nations title is there for the taking.
“I felt like I got outplayed really - his long potting had me in big trouble and I was nicking all the scrappy frames and hanging on in there,” he added.
“If I can play my best, and my best would be something like when I played John in the World final, if I can play like that I’m sure I’ll get the result.
“But you can’t always play your best and for me it’s about that back-up game, and hopefully my B-game and C-game, like Mark Selby’s done for the past five or ten years, is now good enough to compete with other players at their best.”