Neil Robertson edged out Judd Trump 10-9 in what he described as the best match he had ever played to win the ManBetX Champion of Champions for the second time.
In an enthralling finish in Coventry, Robertson came from the ‘snookers required’ stage to steal the 18th frame on a respotted black, then closed out the contest in style with a century in the decider. In all the match featured eight centuries and seven more breaks over 50.
Australia’s Robertson, who first won this title in 2015, takes the £150,000 top prize and lifts his first trophy of the season.
World number four Robertson could barely have had a tougher draw at the Ricoh Arena this week as he faced Shaun Murphy in the quarter-finals and Ronnie O’Sullivan in the semis, winning both of those matches 6-5. And the final pitched him against World Champion and world number one Trump, who was aiming to win his seventh title within the past year.
In a high quality opening session, Robertson led 3-1 with a top break of 121 then Trump reeled off three centuries in a row, 121, 127 and 119, to lead 4-3. Robertson hit back with 96 and 111 to earn a 5-4 advantage at the end of the session.
Bristol’s Trump took the first frame of the evening’s play, before Robertson responded with a 104. Frame 12 was stolen by Trump thanks to a 30 clearance and the Englishman made an 84 in the next to lead 7-6. The next two were shared then a 135 from Robertson made it 8-8.
In the 17th, Trump needed a snooker on the final blue, and trapped his opponent behind the pink to gain the required penalty points. A safety exchange ended when Trump rolled the blue the length of a side cushion into a baulk corner, and he added pink and black for 9-8.
Trump looked to be cruising to the winning line in the 18th until he missed a red to a centre pocket on 69. Robertson, seizing his chance, got the snooker he needed on the last red and cleared the table. Trump had a chance at the respotted black but a tough long pot missed its target and his opponent slotted it into a centre pocket for 9-9.
A marvellous 137 total clearance – his fifth century of the match – gave Robertson the title.
“To play a match like that, the pair of us, it is the best match I have ever been involved in and I’m sure a lot of people here would say it is probably the best match they have ever seen,” said 37-year-old Robertson. “The standard was incredible.
“There were a lot of centuries, a couple of frames went down to the black and I had to dig deep to force the decider. If you had told Judd and I before the match that this would be the standard we would play, against a lot of other players it would have been done and dusted halfway through the second session.
“It was a great credit to both of us; we never backed down, kept playing the shots and that’s the sort of snooker people want to see. I am sure everybody watching got a great buzz. This is one of the few genuine occasions where you can say it is unfortunate to have a loser in the match.
“This is the first time [daughter] Penelope has seen me win. She doesn’t really know what’s going on, she’s only seven months old! It is really special for me. When she was born I wanted to win more tournaments so she could be there as well and it’s the best feeling in the world when you can win tournaments and share those moments with your family.”
The 2020 Champion of Champions will be staged at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes from November 2-8. Tickets go on sale this Monday, November 11 priced from just £11 per session at www.championofchampionssnooker.co.uk.