Judd Trump and Zhao Xintong emerged the winners of their respective groups yesterday. Judd was pushed hard by Barry Hawkins. Zhao played well all day, his task maybe made a bit easier by a terrible performance by Stuart Bingham who finished last of the group with two defeats and a draw.
Trump and Zhao Reach Finals Day
Judd Trump and Zhao Xintong are the first players through to Finals Day of BetVictor Championship League Snooker after topping their respective Stage Two groups at the start of Winners’ Week at Stadium MK on Monday, live on Matchroom.Live.
The 32 players who won Stage One groups return to the baize this week for Stage Two, which features eight groups of four players from Monday to Thursday, with each group winner advancing to Stage Three on Friday. Two more groups of four will then produce the two BetVictor Championship League Snooker finalists, who face off in a best-of-five final on Friday evening.
Trump went into his final Group A match against Barry Hawkins knowing only a win would see him advance, while ‘The Hawk’ could progress with a draw. However, Trump gave his opponent few opportunities and took just 36 minutes to complete a 3-0 win which included breaks of 124 and 110.
Hawkins fought back in the third frame but a visit of 62 wasn’t enough to stop the World No.1, who came back to the table to clear after Hawkins had missed frame ball.
“The first two frames against Barry were really, really good,” said Trump. “I had a couple of chances in the last frame, was a bit unlucky when I went into the pack and played a bit of a crazy shot. But I got away with it in the end when Barry missed a ball he probably should have got and I made a nice little clearance.
“It is nice to be through to Finals Day and try and qualify for the Champion of Champions as many times as possible!”
On table two, Zhao beat Stuart Bingham 3-1 to top Group C with seven points having already beaten Luo Honghao 3-1 and drawn with Alexander Ursenbacher. Had Zhao failed to win, a whole host of permutations would have opened up with one game to play, but his victory meant he could not be caught at the top of the table. Zhao will now join Trump in Group 1 of Finals Day.
BetVictor Championship League Snooker Winners’ Week continues on Tuesday with Groups B and D, the winners of which will join Trump and Zhao in Group One on Friday. Group B features Shaun Murphy, Dominic Dale, Zhou Yuelong and Matthew Selt. Group D is Mark Selby, Rory McLeod, Graeme Dott and Jamie O’Neill.
Coverage of both tables will be available at Matchroom.Live, with UK television coverage on Freesports.
FINAL GROUP STANDINGS
P W D L FW FL +/- PTS Judd Trump 3 2 1 0 8 3 5 7 Barry Hawkins 3 2 0 1 6 3 3 6 Ryan Day 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4 Robert Milkins 3 0 0 3 2 9 -7 0
P W D L FW FL +/- PTS Zhao Xintong 3 2 1 0 8 3 5 7 Luo Honghao 3 1 1 1 6 6 0 4 A. Ursenbacher 3 0 3 0 6 6 0 3 Stuart Bingham 3 0 1 2 3 8 -5 1
I watched mainly Group C. Luo Honghao and Alexander Ursenbacher both showed excellent fighting qualities, but made some unexpected mistakes. Alex finished the day undefeated, but still only third in the group.