The 23-year-old from Bristol suffered an agonising 10-9 defeat to John Higgins in the Shanghai Masters final six weeks ago, but this time finished with the trophy in his hands. Trump was already guaranteed to take over as World No 1 from Mark Selby, so it was the perfect finish to the week for the sport’s most audacious potter.
A high quality match which featured 12 breaks over 50 swung one way then the other, and Robertson, usually so clinical at the business end of tournaments, was in the ascendancy when he won three frames in a row to lead 8-6. But it was Trump who found the extra gear when he needed it as Robertson fell to only his second defeat in 12 televised finals.
After several years when he struggled to make an impact at the top of the sport, Trump has now won three ranking titles within the past 19 months, and seems destined to win a barrow-load more in years to come.
It’s his second ranking title in China as he also won the China Open in Beijing last year. With five of this season’s ten ranking events in the People’s Republic, it’s vital for any player with ambitions of rising to the top to be able to thrive in the Far East.
Trump will go into the defence of his williamhill.com UK Championship title next month with massive confidence and, as only the tenth player in snooker history to hold the World No 1 ranking, will be determined to hang on to the top spot for a long spell. Australia’s 30-year-old Robertson, who climbs three places in the list to No 5, had to settle for the £60,000 runner-up prize but was still pleased to have reached his first ranking final in China.
Trailing 5-4 after the first session, Trump won the first frame tonight with a break of 65 to restore parity. The Englishman enjoyed a slice of luck in frame 11, missing the pink when 27 points up with two reds left but snookering his opponent behind the brown. Robertson failed to escape and Trump dished up to take the lead.
Trump led 37-0 in frame 12 when he missed an awkward red to a top corner. Robertson made him pay with a break of 68 for 6-6. And frame 13 proved unlucky for Trump as he miscued on 42, and Robertson cleared with 88 to lead 7-6 at the interval. In the next, a thumping long red from Robertson, perhaps the shot of the tournament, initiated a run of 73 to put him 8-6 ahead.
Trump halved his deficit by winning a scrappy 15th frame and kept his momentum going with a 96 for 8-8. Early in frame 17 Robertson missed a red to a centre pocket and Trump rattled in a superb 119 to take the lead.
He seemed to be cruising to victory in the next until he missed a tricky red on 39. But Robertson failed to clip a red into a top corner, and Trump fired a brilliant red into a baulk pocket. That set him up for a further 33 points which proved enough.
“It has been a great week,” said Trump. “I dominated a lot of matches during the tournament, then in the final I felt the same but missed a few balls and that’s why it was so close. Every time I play Neil it’s always tough, he clears up nine times out of ten so you’ve got to make sure you win frames in one visit. He put me under pressure and I went behind but I felt good in the last four frames and played some good snooker.
“I have got used to dealing with the time difference when I come to China now. I used to get worried if I couldn’t sleep at night, but now I’ve realised it’s better to just sleep when I am tired. I get so much support here and that makes me happy. Hopefully I will come back here next year and win it again.”
Robertson said: “In the first session I felt I could have been 6-3 up. Then tonight I played a few great frames to go 8-6. I felt in control then and I felt I was going to win. In the next frame Judd got a couple of bits of luck otherwise I might have gone 9-6. But from 8-7 I hardly got any chances and he made some fantastic breaks.
“Overall I’ve got to be really happy to have got to the final. I know I can play well in China now.”
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