Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 4-0 down to beat Judd Trump 10-7 in the final of the Spreadex World Grand Prix, extending his marvellous run to 14 consecutive match wins and three straight titles.
In a golden spell dating back to November, O’Sullivan has landed trophies at the UK Championship, the Masters and now this week’s event in Leicester. He also captured the Shanghai Masters title in September, and remarkably at the age of 48 he could be closing in on the best season of his career. He brings his tally of ranking titles to 41 – well clear of Stephen Hendry’s 36 in the all-time list – and his prize money for the season close to £900,000.
In terms of standard, this was not a match that lived up to its billing, as the best two players of the season so far went head to head. The highest break was just 74, while O’Sullivan won only one frame in a single visit – in contrast to his imperious display in a 6-1 defeat of Ding Junhui in Saturday’s semi-finals.
After a strong start, Trump failed to capitalise on his early advantage, making errors at key moments as he let slip a 6-3 lead, losing seven of the last eight frames. In an earlier stage of his career, O’Sullivan might have lacked the resilience to battle back without his A game, but these days his mental toughness is a huge asset, and just as he did against Ali Carter in the Masters final a week ago, he grew stronger as the night progressed.
The Rocket takes the World Grand Prix title for the third time, having won it in 2018 and 2021. He extends his lead at the top of the world rankings, and has now won his last three finals against Trump, having lost seven of their first ten.
Bristol’s 34-year-old Trump banks £40,00 as runner-up but missed out on a 27th career ranking title and fourth of the season having won three in a row in October during his own purple patch, which covered 22 consecutive match wins.
Trump led 5-3 after the first session and extended his advantage in the first frame tonight, making a break of 66 then wrapping it up after O’Sullivan missed a tough pot on the final brown. Breaks of 58, 56 and 75 saw O’Sullivan start his comeback as he closed to 6-5. In frame 12, Trump led 57-30 when he played a weak safety on the last red, handing his opponent the chance to slot in a mid-range pot and clear to square the match.
After the interval, O’Sullivan’s run of 52 helped him take the lead for the first time. He led 51-0 in frame 14 when he missed a red to a top corner, and Trump was on the verge of an excellent clearance until he left a tricky pot on the final black in the jaws, allowing O’Sullivan to go 8-6 up. Again in the 15th Trump had a chance to clear, after an excellent pot on the last red, but a difficult cut on the brown rattled in a baulk corner pocket and stayed above the baize, and he was soon three down with four to play.
Having lost six frames in a row, Trump pulled one back with a 73 for 9-7. In frame 17, O’Sullivan made 52 before missing a red to corner with the winning line just a few pots away. Trump might have cleared but lost position on the yellow, then misjudged a safety and left it close to a baulk pocket. A full house at the Morningside Arena rose to applaud O’Sullivan as he potted the colours to secure the title.
“Judd started well, then I got back into it at 5-3 which gave me a bit of optimism. In the evening I tried to be strong mentally and kept my composure,” said O’Sullivan. “I enjoyed the battle. I have got a lot of experience having learned a lot about the game and I’m probably a better all round player than I have ever been. Judd is a warrior and for me he is favourite for Sheffield but I have three months to try to get some consistency in my game. It will be nice to go there and enjoy it.
“Last night against Ding was a one-off, I won’t get excited about one performance, I sometimes wonder why I don’t do that more often but it’s nice to know it’s still in there. There is a sense of achievement in winning, even though I didn’t flow like I know I can today.”
Trump added: “The standard wasn’t good, but Ronnie cleared up when he needed to and won the important frames. His safety was better than mine tonight and overall he deserved to win. I had a kick on the black to go 7-7, then missed the brown in the next frame. I always enjoy playing Ronnie and I hope we play in a lot more finals.”
Article by WST