World champion Judd Trump produced a scintillating display to beat Shaun Murphy 10-3 and win the International Championship in Daqing.
The blistering nature of Trump’s victory stamps home his current dominance of the sport. The 29-year-old was equally impressive in a 9-4 demolition of three-time world champion Mark Selby in the semi-finals. Trump compiled 12 centuries in total across the week. This is the 12th ranking event victory of his career.
The Ace in the Pack had already secured a return to the world number one spot, deposing Ronnie O’Sullivan by reaching the quarter-finals. It is the first time he has topped the world rankings since March 2013. His place as world number one will now be solidified further after picking up the £175,000 top prize.
This was Trump’s first appearance on the circuit since winning a maiden world title back in May. Trump clinched the Crucible crown with a stunning 18-9 defeat of John Higgins. After his success this week he is now the first player in 11 years to win in his first outing after becoming world champion. The last person to achieve the feat was Ronnie O’Sullivan at the 2008 Northern Ireland Trophy.
Defeat will be a difficult one for 2005 world champion Murphy. However, he goes home with the consolation of £75,000. Murphy’s performance secured qualification for the upcoming Shanghai Masters. The top 16 in the world rankings at the end of this event get a place and Murphy’s position in that elite group had come under threat after a difficult season in 2018/19.
Trump came into this evening with a three-frame cushion, having secured a 6-3 lead in the afternoon’s first session. When they emerged for the concluding exchanges, Trump made light work of his opponent.
Breaks of 80, 63, 102 and 62 in consecutive frames helped him to take the first four of the evening and storm home to the 10-3 win.
“After the World Championship it was always going to be difficult,” said world number one Trump. “I went away and prepared as a world champion should do. It is very easy to get a little bit carried away after wining at the Crucible and to drop off a little bit. So to get my foot back on the gas and win in the first event shows just how hard I’ve worked in the off season.
“You never know what is around the corner. I could go out early at the Shanghai Masters and go through a bad period. As long as I keep preparing how I have done, putting in the work and being mentally right out there then there is no reason why I can’t keep winning. Sooner or later everyone has a bad spell. Hopefully mine isn’t for another ten years.”
Murphy said: “It was very disappointing. I didn’t really feature in the game. Judd swamped me, that was how it felt. I was fighting against the tide the whole game. He is world champion and world number one and today he played just like that. I made a few mistakes here or there, but we aren’t robots.
“To get to the final and be in with a shout of taking home the trophy, it has been a fabulous week. It is one that I will put into perspective and take the positives from. I’m a bit sore at the moment, but from where I have been in the last 12 months with my game it has been a great start to the new season.”