Unstoppable’ Trump crowned snooker world champion, completes Grand Slam

English snooker player Judd Trump competes on the seventeenth day of the 2019 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, on May 6, 2019.
English snooker player Judd Trump competes on the seventeenth day of the 2019 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, on May 6, 2019.PHOTO: PA WIRE

LONDON (AFP) – England’s Judd Trump defeated John Higgins 18-9 to win the 2019 snooker World Championship final in commanding style at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on Monday (May 6). 

Victory gave Trump, beaten in the 2011 final by Scotland’s Higgins, his maiden world title and saw him join the list of snooker players to have completed a career Grand Slam following previous successes in the UK Championship and Masters tournaments. 

It also saw Trump become the first snooker player win a million pounds (S$1.8 million) in a single season. 

“I’ve worked so hard for this. It was an amazing final,” Trump told the BBC.  “I can’t put it into words how well I played,” the 29-year-old added. "That’s what you’ve got to do to beat John, he’s one of the greatest to play the game.”

Defeat meant four-time world champion Higgins had now lost the last three Crucible finals.  But while he felt keenly disappointed in going close in going 18-15 to Mark Selby in 2017 and last year’s 18-6 loss to Mark Williams, Higgins had no reason to reproach himself after a superb display by Trump. 

‘Unstoppable machine’

“I was the lucky one, I didn’t have to pay for a ticket,” said a sporting Higgins to knowing laughter from a packed crowd as he paid tribute to Trump. 

“Playing my third final in a row is brilliant and I’m delighted to get there – but I came up against an unstoppable machine,” the 43-year-old added. 

Trump was on the brink of victory at 16-9 when Monday’s evening session got underway and he made quick work of securing the two frames he required to be crowned champion with breaks of 94 and 62. 

Trump had been outstanding in winning eight frames in a row on Sunday to establish a 12-5 overnight lead against Higgins. 

But the impressive overall standard of both players in this match was shown by an afternoon session on Monday that started with Higgins nearly achieving a maximum break of 147 and ended with Trump just falling short of the landmark. 

Higgins potted all 15 reds, including an outlandish double on the last, as he closed in on a maximum before missing a relatively simple black.  Higgins then won the next as well to reduce the deficit to 12-7. 

But Trump, who had needed a final frame to beat Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and then came from behind in his seco nd-round match with China’s Ding Junhui, stopped Higgins’ fightback with a brilliant 101.  It was his fifth century break of the match. 

Trump then produced a composed break of 71 following a poor break-off shot by Higgins as he moved into a 14-7 lead at the mid-session interval.  Trump maintained his form when the match resumed, potting a brilliant opening long red and playing several superb positional shots in a commanding break of 126. 

Higgins, with breaks of 67 and 70, at least avoided losing the match with a session to spare before Trump finished the afternoon’s play in style. 

There seemed little prospect of a 147 when Trump, on 80, was left with a tough angle on the black and easier colours available to him. 

But he made no mistake with a difficult pot and completed yet another century break before narrowly missing a tough red to the left middle pocket.