Top Trump: Judd lifts the trophy
Judd Trump won six frames in a row to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-7 in the final of the inaugural 888.com World Grand Prix.
Just as he did in the final of the World Championship last season against Mark Selby, O’Sullivan lost his way in the closing stages and let slip a sizeable lead.
Instead it was 25-year-old Trump who came from 7-4 down to soar to the trophy and £100,000 top prize at this new tournament in Llandudno. It’s Trump’s second title of the season and first since the Australian Goldfields Open in July.
More significantly for the Bristolian left-hander, he beat O’Sullivan in a major final, and a match over more than one session, for the first time. O’Sullivan had come out on top when they clashed in the Champion of Champions and UK Championship before Christmas, but this time it was the Ace who held the winning hand.
There’s barely time to celebrate tonight’s victory as world number seven Trump flies to Thailand tomorrow for the Players Championship and then heads to Beijing for the China Open. Imbued with the confidence that he can beat the best on the big stage, Trump will have no fear as he goes into those events and the next domestic tournament: the World Championship.
An exciting final brought to an end a superb week of snooker at Venue Cymru in North Wales. Packed crowds, dramatic matches and a superb location have made this a fine addition to the calendar.
Leading 5-4 after the first session, five-time World Champion O’Sullivan extended his lead in the opening frame tonight with a break of 96. In frame 11 he enjoyed a huge slice of luck, fluking a red to a baulk corner to set up a run of 59 which made it 7-4.
World number three O’Sullivan had first chance in frame 12, but missed a black off its spot on 29. Trump made 57 before missing the penultimate red, but he got another opportunity and clawed back to 7-5. Trump dominated the next as well with runs of 47 and 25 to trail by just one frame at the mid-session interval.
Trump continued to gain momentum in frame 14 with a stunning 142 total clearance, the highest break of the tournament, worth a handy £5,000 bonus.
In frame 15, O’Sullivan was on 28 when he mis-cued, sending the white ball sailing onto the carpet. Trump built a 60-35 lead and clinched the frame after laying a snooker on the last red, to take the lead for the first time since 1-0.
Both players passed up chances in the 16th, with O’Sullivan’s shot selection reckless at times, and it came down to a safety tussle on the brown. Trump was partially snooker behind the blue and studied a possible long pot for over two minutes, before crashing it in and clearing the table to go 9-7 ahead.
In the next, Trump made 36 before missing the blue to centre, then O’Sullivan’s response faltered on just nine. Trump knocked in a long red and added 29 which proved enough for the title.
“Not a lot of people come back from that far behind against Ronnie so I’m over the moon,” said Trump. “I’ve dug in all week. I didn’t play great stuff, nowhere near my best. At 4-1 down, I was getting a little bit frustrated and then it seemed to turn. It was a weird game, a bit patchy. In the end I kept calm and got over the line.
“It’s a great feeling to beat Ronnie in a big final for the first time. You don’t want to lose too many times in a row against the same player. Two times is already a lot, and going behind tonight 7-4, I thought it was just going to be the same thing.
“I felt comfortable out there. I took confidence from making the 142 to go 7-7, and after that I didn’t really miss a lot. I missed the blue in the last frame, but other than that I felt I dominated tonight. My safety was very good and I think that was the difference. I’m the sort of player who gets on a roll as soon as I win one or two frames.
“I won the tournament playing a different game to what I’m used to. My safety was probably a lot better than anyone else’s throughout the whole tournament, and that got me through. If I’m not potting every ball on the table, I need to change the game.
“The venue’s been excellent all week. The crowd has been brilliant and I look forward to coming back next year.
“The money will go towards some holidays in the summer, but there’s still a lot of money to be won during the rest of this season.”
O’Sullivan, who generously gave his silver runner-up medal to a disabled man in the crowd called Steffan Campbell, said: “I’m disappointed to have lost but I’m proud of my achievements this week.
“Judd’s a bit like Selby. If you go three, four, five frames up, they seem to play better when they’re behind. I expected him to come back at me. I wasn’t playing well enough to be able to keep my foot to the pedal. I knew I was going to give him chances. Some days you’re not timing the ball well, and today was one of those days.
“Hopefully this tournament is here to stay. It’s a great venue and a great tournament. It’s a proper event, you really appreciate the quality of it.”
Last 16: £5,000
Last 32: £2,500
High break: £5,000