Trump Tops the World

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Judd Trump won his maiden Betfred World Championship title as he made seven centuries in beating John Higgins 18-9 in a tremendous Crucible final.

Trump became the first player to earn £1 million in a single season and fulfilled his greatest ambition, having been touted as a potential World Champion since his teenage years. At 29, he becomes the first player under 30 to lift the trophy since Neil Robertson in 2010.

A final of record-breaking quality featured 11 centuries, the most in any match in snooker history, plus 12 more breaks over 50. Trump’s individual tally of seven tons equalled the record for any match, held by Stephen Hendry and Ding Junhui.

The crucial passage of play came in the second session when Bristol’s Trump won eight frames in a row on Sunday evening to go 12-5 ahead. Higgins battled on Monday to prolong the contest but couldn’t hold back the tide.

Trump’s performance in the final must go down as one of the best of all time. As Steve Davis put it, it was a “controlled annihilation of a great player.”

Trump becomes the 21st champion of the Crucible era and the 11th player to complete the Triple Crown, having won the UK Championship in 2011 and the Masters in 2019. He is the first player to win the Masters and World titles in the same season since Mark Williams in 2003.

He receives a cheque for £500,000, the biggest in snooker history, taking his tally for the season to £1,098,400. It’s his third ranking title of the campaign, having also won the Northern Ireland Open and World Grand Prix. His career tally of ranking titles is now 11 and he moves up to second in the world rankings, behind only Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Left-hander Trump gained revenge on Higgins for the 2011 Crucible final when he lost 18-15. At the time, Trump’s game was all-out attack, relying on devastating long potting and break-building. His game has matured over time, particularly over the past year. By improving his safety play and shot selection he has become a far more formidable competitor. And any questions over Trump’s capacity to handle pressure at the highest level have been answered emphatically.

Defeat is devastating for Higgins as it means he has lost the last three Crucible finals, having been denied the trophy by Mark Selby in 2017 and Mark Williams in 2018. He is the only player to lose three world finals in a row apart from Jimmy White, who was runner-up five times in succession from 1990-94.

Wishaw’s 43-year-old Higgins lifted the trophy in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011 but remains stuck on four titles, one behind Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The Scot has been well below his best this season, failing to win a title. His legendary battling qualities got him into the final in Sheffield, but there was little he could do to stop the barrage of potting from an opponent 14 years his junior. He receives £200,000 as runner-up and finishes the season ranked fifth in the world.

Trump led 16-9 after three sessions having made breaks of 51, 63, 105, 103, 135, 114, 71, 58, 70, 101, 71, 126 and 104.

In the first frame of the concluding session he carried on in the same vein with a break of 94, missing out on a century chance when he failed to double the last red.

Trump ruthlessly finished off the match in the following frame. Firing in a break of 62 to clinch victory and seal a maiden Crucible crown.