Judd Trump is favourite to win the Premier League title this weekend, says Neal Foulds.
Hot shot Judd Trump will win his first Premier League title this weekend, predicts Neal Foulds.
Last Updated: 22/11/12 11:50am
The 21-year-old takes on Neil Robertson on Saturday, with John Higgins and Stuart Bingham going head-to-head in the other semi-final at Grimsby Auditorium.
You can catch both matches - along with Sunday's final - live on Sky Sports 3 HD from 7.30pm. But first, read on for the predictions of Sky Sports expert Neal Foulds...
Judd Trump v Neil Robertson
It's been quite difficult to predict some of the results in the Premier League this season but my tip at the start of the tournament, Judd Trump, is still there - and he's still the man to beat. You could argue he's an even better player now than he was a year ago when he won the UK Championship; he's playing such good snooker.
His opponent, Neil Robertson, produced a thrilling comeback from 2-0 down to beat Ding Junhui 4-2 in his final group game to qualify for the semi-finals and he'll take plenty of confidence from that performance.
This encounter should be a good one, as well. These two have had some good matches over the past few years, most notably their meeting in the 2010 World Championships when Robertson defeated Trump, who was a qualifier at the time, en route to the title, and at last year's Masters event, when Robertson shrugged off some distractions from Trump fans to lift that crown as well.
Most recently they met in the final of the International Championship a couple of weeks ago in China. It was a great match with both players going ahead and then being clawed back and eventually Trump prevailed, winning the final for frames from 8-6 down to win.
Since then Trump's gone from strength to strength and played some great snooker, albeit at some smaller events. He lost to John Higgins in the final of a UK PTC event but reversed that result in the final of the Bulgarian Open last week.
He's on a crest of a wave at the moment and could rack up 50 centuries this season by Christmas - it's only recently players have been able to pass 50 in a season, so that would be a tremendous feat - and, under shot-clock rules, I see no reason why he can't win.
John Higgins v Stuart Bingham
Stuart Bingham has been the revelation of this season's Premier League. He lit up the tournament in Guildford, annihilating Mark Selby and Neil Robertson 6-0 on the same night - and there's a serious chance he could cause an upset in this match.
He's been enjoying a good season away from the Premier League, as well; he's won two Asian PTC events out of the three so far this season - and they're not easy to win - and he was also runner-up in the Wuxi Classic and he's moved to 11 in the world.
For years he watched the Premier League and wanted to be a part of it and now he is. He's a very fluent player - one of the most fluent on tour - so the shot clock doesn't bother him at all. However, his opponent, Higgins, is a player I've never been convinced about in this format; last Thursday he was beaten by Peter Ebdon in a dead rubber.
Higgins is actually probably playing the better snooker away from the Premier League at the moment and the world number three is the obvious favourite for this match.
However, I think this one could go all the way to the last frame and I reckon Bingham may be a surprise finalist against Trump.
I expect the winner of the Robertson-Trump match to win the tournament, whatever happens in the Higgins-Bingham semi-final. Trump is a better player now than he was last year when he won the UK and that's a frightening thought.
If he can improve on winning the second biggest tournament in the game, then he's some player. We're really seeing him at his best at the moment. There's so much scoring power and potential there that when he's in full cry he's unstoppable.