Judd Trump has clinched the Ladbrokes Players Championship title after defeating Marco Fu 10-8 in Llandudno
The significance of Trump’s victory is underlined by the fact that it’s only his second ranking title on British soil, after the 2011 UK Championship. The £125,000 top prize is also his joint highest career payday alongside that UK title and reaching the 2011 World Championship final. The triumph elevates Trump above Stuart Bingham to second in the world rankings.
Fu’s attention will now turn to next month’s World Championship. The Hong Kong potter can now begin his preparations having failed to qualify for the China Open. He will head into the Crucible as one of the season’s most successful players having won the Scottish Open and reached a further two semi-finals, as well as being runner-up here in Llandudno.
Fu dominated much of the afternoon session, but was pegged back by two consecutive centuries from the Ace in the Pack, to have his lead reduced from 5-2 to 5-4.
Trump carried that momentum forward into this evening. He started at a blistering pace, winning four frames in a row, with runs of 110, 63 and 76 along the way to leading 8-5.
Fu struggled to find the form he displayed earlier in the tournament, but the pendulum swung again as the world number nine edged back into the match. He moved within two at 8-6, before a dramatic 15th frame. Trump looked set to go one from victory, before an unexpected miss on the final pink allowed Fu to clinch the frame and make it 8-7.
Lesser players could have folded following the disappointment of a miss like that, but Trump responded in emphatic fashion. He potted 12 reds with blacks and looked on for a maximum, before running out of position on 96 and being forced to take a blue. Trump’s run ended on 104.
The Scottish Open champion Fu stayed alive in the match thanks to a contribution of 58. However, Trump made contributions of 49 and 53 in the 18th frame to secure the title 10-8.
Trump reflected: “It’s a great feeling, especially in this competition. It’s the 16 best players of the season. To win this one is probably up there with the UK Championship. This tournament has a lot of prestige and I’m delighted to have won.”
“I was kind of gone in the afternoon session and missing everything. I managed from somewhere to make those two centuries and get back into the game,” said the seven-time ranking winner. “It was a little bit different tonight. The first frame was quite important and I managed to nick that. Then it changed around and he was missing everything.
“It gives you a massive amount of belief to win tournaments like this. When you are a part of the latter stages of most events, you are in the mix and know your form is there. I’m not going to lose that between now and the worlds.”
After the match Fu admitted that the burst from Trump to snatch control in the middle of the match was pivotal.
“I didn’t do a lot wrong to go from 5-2 to 7-5,” said Fu. “Judd can win two or three frames in a row with big breaks so that’s not a surprise to me. I was kind of in control but in a long match you need to do a little bit more. Tonight it wasn’t quite enough to beat Judd.”