Champion of Champions 2018 – Group 3

Kyren Wilson was yesterday the third man to reach the semi-finals in Coventry, after convincing wins over Mark Williams and Judd Trump.

Here is the report on Worldsnooker:

Kyren Wilson scored a stunning 6-1 win over Judd Trump in the Group Three final on Wednesday night to reach the semi-finals of the ManBetX Champion of Champions.

Wilson fired two centuries and four more breaks over 50 in an impressive display as he booked his place in the last four in Coventry, with his next match on Saturday night against one of Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Barry Hawkins and Mark Allen.

World number nine Wilson has already won the Paul Hunter Classic and Six Red World Championship this season, and the player nicknamed the Warrior looks in the mood for more silverware.

In his opening match he beat World Champion Mark Williams 4-1 with a top break of 71. Trump saw off Luca Brecel 4-1 with a top run of 93.

Breaks of 73 and 61 helped Kettering’s Wilson take a 2-0 lead over Trump. World number five Trump pulled one back with a 73, but scored just 12 points in the next three frames as Wilson rattled in 96, 125 and 131 to go 5-1 up. And the 26-year-old sealed victory in the next with a run of 51.

“I was solid in my first match against Mark Williams, I played good match snooker,” said Wilson. “I felt I needed to up it tonight because Judd is a very heavy scorer. I’m very pleased with my performance. I’ve had a good start to the season and had a run where I didn’t lose a match for a long time. That relaxes you for the rest of the season and that’s why I’m producing my best form now. I feel as if I’m in with a shout of winning this.”

Kyren was very solid all day and there is not much to add to this report regarding his performance. About the rest however …

Where to start? Well maybe by having a look and a listen to this

It’s very clear that the pundits made Judd Trump favourite to win the group, and that they see him as a top player, whilst in their eyes Kyren is only just getting there.

Now I’m baffled. Ok Judd has won eight ranking titles, for only two to Kyren, and Judd has won a triple crown event, the UK Championship and been in the final of the World Championship. But that dates back to 2011, and Judd’s last event win is more than a year old, so is he a top player in current form? I’m not sure.

I also wonder if those pundit have actually watched the games Judd Trump lost over the last year, because if they did, I don’t understand where they come from. It has become a pattern that Judd absolutely destroys lower ranked opponents, scores heavily, looks unstoppable, only to collapse like a cheap tent once really challenged when he reaches the QF/SF stages. The impression he’s giving me at the table is one of being arrogant and disrespectful to his opponents skills, by taking outlandish shots, and when punished, to go sulking and throwing the match. Yesterday was no different. It’s all the more disturbing because, off the table, Judd isn’t that person, and his interview in the group 3 preview – which unfortunately I did not find online – was a good one. He stated that he was working harder than ever, and that he wanted to be a winner again. But he blamed his defeats on the fact that his opponents were playing exceptionally well against him, and didn’t question his own approach. I think it’s time he does just that, and, maybe, get some help by a sports psychologist.  Regarding that aspect, one particular blogger once again blamed Judd’s management for the players shortcomings and even suggested that Django Fung would not allow Judd to see a sport psychologist. That’s preposterous: first because my understanding is that the said manager gets a % of his players prize money so it is in his own interest that they succeed, next because clearly other players in the team are doing well – Jack Lisowski is having his better season ever, and Neil Robertson is back on form –  and, finally because he is the one who introduced Steve Peters to Ronnie, so why would he not help Judd in similar ways? In my opinion, Judd is going through a deep crisis because he’s nearing 30, and hasn’t won as much and as big as was expected from him. He was a wonder child, and was bigged up by his entourage from a very young age; his family was guilty of that in the first place. It is true that Django played along that line, and the playboy image, around 2011/12 when Judd looked like being the next big star. But that was years ago, and there is nothing of the like since a long time.

Mark Williams looked right out of sorts and it’s no wonder as he has basically been celebrating – with beers and kebabs and a “no practice diet” – since Sheffield last May. Back to work Willo? hum … going by his twitter feed, his reaction to yesterday’s defeat was to go on the lash in Cardiff.

As for Luca Brecel … he’s a maddening waste of talent at the moment.