- Dominant Trump too much for Wakelin in final
- 20 wins in a row for in-form Bristolian
- Trump highly fancied for the majors
In a commanding display, world number three Judd Trump clinched his third consecutive ranking title with a resounding 9-3 victory against Chris Wakelin in the final of the Northern Ireland Open. Trump’s superb form means that he is joint favourite for the three Triple Crown Tournaments.
20 match wins in a row for Trump
This latest triumph in Belfast follows his earlier successes at the English Open and Wuhan Open. Trump’s winning streak now extends to an impressive 20 consecutive matches.
After taking a 6-2 lead in the afternoon session, the Englishman showcased his exceptional form in the evening, registering three centuries in four frames. This stellar performance earned him his fourth Alex Higgins Trophy.
Trump’s achievement puts him in an elite category of players who have secured three consecutive ranking title wins, joining the ranks of Ray Reardon, Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, and Ding Junhui.
With this victory, Trump’s earnings from his recent trio of title runs now total £300,000, including the £80,000 prize for this Northern Ireland Open win.
The 34-year-old started strong, claiming the first frame. Although compatriot Wakelin briefly took the lead at 2-1, Trump’s consistent play soon turned the tide.
Having won all 11 previous encounters against Wakelin, Trump’s breaks of 51, 97, 63, and 96 propelled him to a commanding 6-2 advantage by the end of the afternoon session.
In a dazzling evening session, the 2019 world champion showcased his finest snooker, notching breaks of 101, 125, and 129. These displays of skill crushed any hopes of a Wakelin comeback, sealing Trump’s 26th ranking title.
Reflecting on his achievement, Trump remarked, “Things have happened so fast over the last three weeks. It feels surreal now and it has not sunk in. The last session tonight was the best I have felt in the whole 20-match run, I felt really sharp.”
This victory propels Trump to the fifth position on the all-time list of ranking event winners, surpassing Mark Williams. At the summit of this prestigious list stands Ronnie O’Sullivan with an astounding 39 titles. He won his first of 26 ranking titles in 2011 against Mark Selby at the China Open, and his 26th on Sunday evening against Chris Wakelin in Northern Ireland.
Trump needs four World Championship wins for greatness – O’Sullivan
O’Sullivan was impressed by Judd’s performance and has acknowledged his superb record in ranking events. However, speaking as a pundit during Eurosport’s coverage of the Northern Ireland Open, O’Sullivan explained, in simple terms, what Trump needs to do to be considered as an all time great in the game.
He said: “You have to put him up there. He’s won a lot of ranking events. He’s won a lot of tournaments, a lot of finals, he’s played consistently very well. But for Judd now, for him to get really up there with the all-time greats, he’s going to have to win four world titles.”
O’Sullivan continued: “At least four UKs, another three or four Masters. He’s good enough. That’s where people judge you. I think he himself will want five or six world titles.”
As well as his world title and 26 ranking tournament wins, Trump has been world No. 1 on four separate occasions, has won the UK Championships, the Masters and is approaching the 1000 century breaks mark.
Trump’s superb start to the season has pundits and punters alike speculating on his chances in the Triple Crown Tournaments. William Hill have Trump as joint favourite with O’Sullivan for the three events. At the time of writing, the pair are 5/1 for both the UK Championships and the World Championships and are 9/2 for the Masters.
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