Judd Trump was far from his best yesterday in beating Liang Wenbo, despite the 6-1 scoreline. He has been speaking to Phil Haigh about the main table conditions and how it may have contributed to Ronnie’s defeat over the weekend.
Ronnie O’Sullivan struggled with UK Championship conditions, says Judd Trump
Judd Trump feels the conditions at the UK Championship have proved to be a struggle for the top players and cost Ronnie O’Sullivan in his shock exit from the tournament on Sunday.
The world number one has been reasonably untroubled on his path to the last 16 so far, seeing off Paul Davison, Dominic Dale and Liang Wenbo to set up a clash with either Mark Williams or Ricky Walden.
The Rocket has not made it that far, though, after losing 6-5 to Alexander Ursenbacher in the last 64 on Sunday afternoon.
The world champion was a long way from his best against the Swiss and paid the price as he was pipped in a deciding frame.
Trump feels that conditions were against O’Sullivan, though, when asked if we were likely to see a 147 break over the rest of the tournament, the Bristolian said it will not be happening on the TV table.
‘Not on that table, I’d be surprised,’ Trump told Eurosport after beating Liang. ‘Maybe on one of the other tables or when the table gets re-clothed.
‘I think it showed in the Ronnie game yesterday, he struggled with it and we both struggled today.
‘I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s a bit cold, a bit damp out there, the balls are going horrible and it’s tough.’
Trump himself wasn’t at the peak of his powers either, making three half-centuries but no tons against Liang.
‘It was a struggle, I watched some of the snooker on the TV, the table’s very heavy and slow,’ he said.
‘It kind of dictates how the frames go, the balls are going scrappy and it’s not until there’s a couple of reds left that you’re able to do anything.
‘I managed to pot the odd ball here and there. It was scrappy, I was just managing to play the better safety and take my chances more.’
O’Sullivan did not really mention conditions after losing to Ursenbacher, simply saying he didn’t play well and the world number 66 did.
‘I am not going to make excuses – the guy played well and good luck to the fella. Hopefully he can go on and win a few more matches,’ said the Rocket.
‘I wasn’t that frustrated, I just could not pot any balls. I felt embarrassed and could not put anything together.’
Well, well … Liang Wenbo didn’t play anywhere as well as Alexander Ursenbacher, but it’s worth noticing that Alex had only one break over 50 himself.
Yes, it was pretty obvious that the conditions aren’t suiting the touch players, those who like to caress the balls rather than hitting them.
Ronnie looked tired from the on, and was clearly out of sorts, but, if Judd Trump is right, the table conditions surely didn’t help either. It was obvious that Ronnie was hitting the ball harder than he usually does.
I can’t see why Judd would make that up; he won quite comfortably. He was probably disappointed about the failed maximum, but still. When a player just lost, fans tend to see any complain as an “excuse”, even if the complain is actually justified. But when a player has won, their complains are usually accepted as valid.
Actually, Judd mentions only Ronnie but the same probably applies to Ding Junhui and Mark Allen. Their game is built around touch and precise positional play at close range. Mark Allen, of course, played on an outside table, but if the issue is caused by dampness in the venue, the conditions might be similar.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to take anything away from Alex Ursenbacher, David Grace and Chang Bingyu. They were the better players on the day, and all three showed tremendous fighting qualities. They also showed their mental strength as all three matches went to a deciding frame. But maybe, only maybe, for once, being used to play on the usually heavier outside tables was an advantage.
Everything has been difficult this season, and we should be grateful to WST as they work so hard to get snooker going despite the covid-19 crisis. But, if the conditions are that difficult and bad, it’s a shame for the tournament, the second biggest ranking event in the calendar.
Anyway it is what is is … and at least, well, it IS on.