Judd Trump turned on the style to defeat Ricky Walden 13-9 and reach the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship.
Trump produced a superb display this afternoon to close out the victory in clinical fashion, having started play locked together with Walden at 8-8.
The performance was in stark contrast to Trump’s first round display, where he suffered a near capitulation against world number 55 Chris Wakelin. On that occasion he was pegged back from 8-4 up to 8-8, before stumbling over the line 10-9. Today, the eight-time ranking event winner looked a completely different player.
Having lost the first frame and fallen 9-8 behind, Trump blitzed his way to the finish. He claimed five frames on the bounce, making breaks of 66, 70, 66 and 103 in the process.
The Ace in the Pack has now set up a quarter-final showdown with John Higgins. The last time the pair met in the World Championship was in the 2011 final. On that occasion Higgins came out on top 18-15 to lift the title after a match which provided one of the greatest atmospheres in Crucible history.
Following today’s game Trump admitted that he was fired up by Walden taking on a risky red to the middle pocket at 9-8.
Trump remarked: “Ricky took on a crazy ball, and it spurred me on. Something inside me fired up and from that moment the whole game turned. That’s what happens, even over the best of 25 frames one ball can change a game.
“He probably felt the way I was playing, I wasn’t going to clear up. When he took that on, it was a crazy shot, it spurred me on thinking that he shouldn’t be playing that against me. I regained my belief that I could clear up and win the match.
“I don’t need to be fired up all the time, but there I did. That was the first time in the whole tournament that I have felt alive. It kicked in and that was my moment then. I had to step up to the plate, otherwise I was going home.
“John Higgins is a little bit older now, but if he keeps his consistency and plays like he has done then I’ll have to play the best snooker of my life to get close to him. I’m hoping he has a bad day or a bad session, which he hasn’t had so far. I’m growing into the tournament now so hopefully I can use the confidence I have built and take the game to him.”
Walden said: “Judd can think what he wants. I play the shot as I see it. If I were to comment on every shot Judd plays then we’d be here all day. We’ve got different games, that’s the way it is.
“To be back on the big stage playing and competing is a big confidence booster. The last few months in general have been pretty good for me. I’ve been playing some decent stuff. My practice game is really good, and moving forward I think I can improve.”