This season’s BetVictor German Masters, BetVictor Shoot Out and WST Pro Series will all be staged at Arena MK in Milton Keynes.
The dates for these events are as follows:
BetVictor German Masters: January 27 to 31
BetVictor Shoot Out: February 4-7
WST Pro Series: January 18-24, March 9-17, and March 18-19 OR March 20-21
WST had hoped to stage the BetVictor German Masters in Berlin, but this has now been ruled out due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Milton Keynes has staged a succession of tournaments since June 2020. The facilities at Arena MK, including an on-site hotel, allow strict Covid-19 guidelines to be followed, keeping the health and safety of the players, contractors and officials as the highest priority.
Announcements on venues for the other tournaments to be staged in early 2021 will follow in due course.
Fans who had bought tickets for the BetVictor German Masters at the Tempodrom in Berlin will be contacted by email with the options of transferring their tickets to the 2022 German Masters or receiving a voucher for alternative future events
So there will be no visit at the Tempodrom this season, no cheers from the great German fans, and the Shoot Out without a crowd will be very weird. Actually, I can’t make any sense of the decision to keep that Shoot Out in the calendar. You will tell me that it’s an earning opportunity for the players. Sure, but this particular event only “works” – to an extend – because of the crowd. I watched about half an hour of the Darts at Ally Pally this year, and the fake, pretty monotonous, crowd noise in the bakground quicly annoyed me.
Judd Trump is just four frames away from his 20th ranking title having established a 6-2 lead over Jack Lisowski in the final of the matchroom World Grand Prix.
Lisowski is aiming to win his first title but has missed chances at crucial moments, slipping four frames behind. He’ll need to win eight of the last 11 frames when they return for the concluding session on Sunday night. First to ten takes the trophy and £100,000 top prize.
Trump is playing in his 31st ranking final and is aiming to win his 20th ranking title, which would move him ahead of Mark Selby and Neil Robertson into sixth place on his own on the all-time list. Victory would give him his third ranking title of the season, having won the English Open and Northern Ireland Open. He has also lost two finals, including a painful 10-9 defeat against Neil Robertson at the Betway UK Championship two weeks ago.
Bristol’s 31-year-old Trump is aiming to win his 13th title within the past 25 months. If he lands the silverware he will be halfway towards the record tally of six ranking titles he set last season. He is looking to win the World Grand Prix for the third time, having lifted the trophy in 2015 and 2019, and is sure to extend his vast lead at the top of the world rankings.
Lisowski, who has won five of his 12 previous meetings with Trump, has a bare modicum of experience at this level, when compared to his opponent. In ten years as a professional he is yet to win a tournament. This is his fourth ranking final, having finished runner-up to Neil Robertson at both the 2018 Riga Masters and 2019 China Open, and to Mark Selby at the 2019 Scottish Open.
The 29-year-old from Churchdown in Gloucestershire will move up from 15th to a career-high position of tenth if he takes the top prize, while the runner-up cheque for £40,000 would leave him 14th. He has struggled for much of 2020, failing to reach the last 32 of a ranking event until the recent Betway UK Championship, but a run to the quarter-finals of that event turned his campaign around.
Trump took the opening frame with a break of 75. Lisowski gained a foothold in the tie by making a 34 clearance to win the second frame, and he had chances in the third but couldn’t take them and it was Trump who regained the lead.
That proved an important turning point as Trump took the fourth with a run of 122, his 49th century of the season, then extended his lead to 4-1 in a fragmented fifth frame. Lisowski had a scoring opportunity in the sixth but potted just one red before missing the yellow to a baulk corner, and he was punished by Trump’s 75.
Lisowski boosted his hopes of a fight-back with a run of 77 to take frame seven for 5-2. In the last of the session, Trump missed a red on 64, and Lisowski had a chance to clear but ran out of position on the final green. A safety exchange ended with an error from Lisowski, and his opponent slotted the green into a top corner to secure his advantage. They resume at 7pm.
Judd Trump, snooker’s most powerful force, finished 2020 in perfect fashion by beating Jack Lisowski 10-7 in the final of the matchroom World Grand Prix.
Trump becomes the sixth player in snooker history to win 20 ranking titles, joining Ronnie O’Sullivan (37), Stephen Hendry (36), John Higgins (30), Steve Davis (28) and Mark Williams (22).
Just two weeks ago, Trump suffered a painful 10-9 defeat against Neil Robertson in the final of the Betway UK Championship. Undeterred, he has bounced back in the perfect fashion by adding to an incredible winning streak which has seen him lift 13 trophies over the past 25 months.
Bristol’s 31-year-old Trump was playing against a close friend today, and was pushed hard as Lisowski showcased his own talent with a fantastic fight-back in the concluding session. But Trump’s self-belief under pressure is beyond doubt and he closed out the tournament to win his sixth ranking title of 2020.
The £100,000 top prize extends his vast lead at the top of the world rankings. He has three ranking titles under his belt already this season and has now won the World Grand Prix in 2015, 2019 and 2020.
Trump will enjoy a well earned rest over Christmas having won 24 of his last 26 matches over a 41-day spell. So impressive is his form and confidence that it is easy to see him achieving a similar level of success in 2021.
Gloucestershire’s 29-year-old Lisowski is still waiting for his first professional title, having now lost four ranking finals. The £40,000 runner-up prize lifts him one place up the ranking list to 14th. And the gifted left-hander can take pride in the way he put Trump on the ropes for much of the final session.
Trailing 6-2 after the first session, Lisowski could have taken the opening frame tonight, but ran out of position on a break of 53. When he missed a long red, Trump pounced with a 66 clearance to extend his lead.
Undeterred, Lisowski stormed back with breaks of 99, 122, 87 and 95 to close to 7-6. In frame 14, Lisowski led 53-5 when he missed a tricky red to a top corner, and Trump regained the initiative with a brilliant 57 clearance.
Lisowski made a 53 in frame 15 as he closed the gap again. Early in the 16th, Trump trapped his opponent in a tough snooker behind the green, and from the chance that followed he made a superb 78 to go 9-7 ahead.
Leading 61-0 in frame 17, Lisowski missed a tricky red to a top corner, and Trump replied with 39 before running out of position on the last red. A safety exchange went Trump’s way, and he coolly cleared the table for victory.
“It was an extremely good game, Jack made it very hard for me,” said Trump. “He played some of the best snooker I have ever seen, everything he looked at was going in. I had to make a couple of really good clearances. The clearance to go 8-6 was massive because I didn’t want him to get back level.
“I had to stay patient tonight and capitalise on the tiny mistakes he made. I’m proud of the way I held myself together and barely missed a ball. That shows the level I had to play to because I still lost the session 5-4. If he keeps playing like that I have no doubt he will be in the top five in the world in no time.
“This is the best start I have ever made to a season and there isn’t much I can improve on. I just have to keep trying to play to this level, keep up the hunger, the ambition and the enjoyment, then hopefully more success will come. When you are number one in the world you have to keep practising because everyone is chasing you, so you can’t let up. The only way to stay on top is to practise harder than everyone else.”
Lisowski said: “I upped my game tonight and put him under pressure, I was on a roll. But I lost a couple of frames from 50 or 60 ahead. The clearance he made to go 8-6 was ridiculous. I’m please to have pushed the best player in the world and made him work for it. It has been an amazing week and my game is going in the right direction.”
Jack can be very proud of himself for the way he fought and came back fro 7-2 down to 7-5 and 8-7. It wasn’t enough eventually, but now I truly believe that it’s only a matter of time before Jack wins a ranking event, and I’m not thinking about the Shootout here, I mean a proper ranking event.
Whether you like him or not, whether you like his game or not, there is no doubt that Judd Trump is the dominant player in our sport right now. Nobody has dominated the scene that way since Stephen Hendry in the first half of the 90th.
“What’s not to like about Judd?” some of you will ask me. Well, there isn’t any rational answer to that. Why do I like coriander – a much hated spice – and why don’t I like pickles? Because I’m me. In snooker, I prefer to watch the controlled game, the precise construction of a break, the perfect touch after an escape, the millimetric snooker. The likes of Ronnie, Ding or Allen keep the cue ball “under their spell”, reaching perfect position shot after shot (almost). It fascinates me. Judd’s more flamboyant style involves too many recovery shots for my personal tastes, BUT, I admire his skills all the same. You would if you’re a snooker fan. He’s matured now, he treats his opponents with due respect, he’s putting the work in. He deserves everything he gets.
So… yesterday was the last day of snooker in 2020. I will cover Judd Trump’s World Grand Prix win in the next post. Meanwhile here are some news about SPOTY and what is coming next year. By the looks of it, we are not out of the woods any time soon unfortunately.
Ronnie O’Sullivan missed out on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award as Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton was voted the winner.
Six-time World Champion O’Sullivan was the first snooker player to be shortlisted for the prestigious award since Stephen Hendry in 1990.
Earlier this year, O’Sullivan conquered the Crucible for the first time since 2013. In all he has won a record 37 ranking titles and 20 Triple Crown events, while helping snooker’s popularity to grow around the world with his charisma and flamboyant style of play.
He was on the shortlist alongside Hamilton, Hollie Doyle, Jordan Henderson, Stuart Broad and Tyson Fury.
Jordan Henderson (football) and Hollie Doyle (horse racing) came second and third. Is it a coincidence that those are all big-money sports?
Apparently there was some kind of silver-lining to this cloud: snooker got about ten minutes “antenna time” instead of its usual 30 seconds. Ah well, all good then.
Barry Hearn concedes next month’s snooker Masters will be behind closed doors at Alexandra Palace after London was placed in tier four of coronavirus restrictions amid mounting cases in the capital
Barry Hearn has conceded the new ‘Tier Four’ restrictions will force snooker to play next month’s Masters behind closed doors.
The game has been confirmed by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden as one of the elite sports that can continue to stage tournaments without a crowd.
But though London’s status could change before the prestigious invitation tournament decisions must be made today regarding organisation of the event.
Until last week tickets were being sold with a capacity of 1,000 per session at Alexandra Palace but those fans now look set to be disappointed.
And an angry Hearn says the late decisions and continually changing landscape are ‘a mess’ having already been ‘burned’ at snooker’s World Championship in August and the PDC darts this month.
He said: ‘It is a mess. If you had asked me about the Masters two days ago I would have said, “All systems go”. Suddenly now, realistically, we have a problem.
‘It is because of all the things we have to organise.
‘It is like this whole thing is taking great pleasure in kicking me in the nuts. Every time I spend a load of money, there is no payback.
‘We had the snooker at the Crucible, half a day before they changed their minds on crowds. The darts, all of a sudden after one day with live crowds – gone.
‘These things cost a lot of money just to get the venues ready for the admission of people.
‘We have a final meeting on Monday but this is not a two-minute thing and my recommendation will be to stage the Masters behind closed doors.
‘Even if we come out of whatever tier we are in now – which they are making up as they go along – I can’t see them welcoming crowds back to sport until early January at least.
‘But I have to make decisions on Monday about things like tiered seating at Ally Pally, structure, entrance of fans, Covid rules for them…it is actually more efficient to do it behind closed doors.
‘I can’t leave those decisions until early January, I have to make them now as it’s a three-week order and build.
‘We as an organisation have been burned twice already at the Crucible and now the darts World Championships.
‘We don’t get any payment from the government, even as a pilot scheme – I’m not moaning about that, just stating a fact.
‘If it’s going to be a choice between a maybe and a definite, I’m better off opting for the safe option so I’m pretty sure there won’t be crowds.
‘We had sold a number of tickets, and this thing runs into a lot of money overall. We lost £2.5million at the Crucible, maybe £4m at the darts, and the Masters £750,000.
‘The only overriding thing that is good still is that although we come behind that great sport of break-dancing in the Olympics, we are recognised as an elite sport here.
‘That has just been confirmed by Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State, and we can continue to put on professional tournaments behind closed doors.
‘How quickly we return to any kind of normality with the crowds I don’t know, but I am thinking the Crucible for the World Championships next April.’
Barry isn’t happy and he’s absolutely right. The UK government constantly changes the goalposts and it costs a lot of money the entrepreneurs, and the UK economy in general. In times of crisis, clear and consistent policies and information are of essence. The mixed messages fuel distrust and misunderstanding in the general public, not mentioning conspiracy theories. How can people abide by rules that are constantly changing?
I have put the last sentence in bold. That’s the prospect for now. Hopefully the spring, and the vaccines, will bring the infection rates down.
BETVICTOR CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE SNOOKER RETURNS IN 2021
BetVictor Championship League Snooker will return in January 2021 in its original invitational format at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes as 25 of the world’s best players battle over seven groups for the right to compete in April’s big-money Winners’ Group.
BetVictor Championship League Snooker, promoted by Matchroom Multi Sport, will begin with Group 1 on January 4-5, with Group 2 (Jan 6-7) and Group 3 (Jan 8-9) to follow the same week.
Groups 4-6 will be played over the week of February 8-13 and BetVictor Championship League Snooker will return with Group 7 from March 29-30. The seven Group Champions will then return for Winners’ Group from March 31-April 1.
BetVictor Championship League Snooker will be shown live on betting websites around the world, as well as on global OTT platforms and Matchroom.Live. Winners’ Group will additionally be broadcast on TV networks, with full details to be confirmed in the new year.
Emily Frazer, Managing Director of Matchroom Multi Sport, said: “We are excited to open 2021 with the return of BetVictor Championship League Snooker’s invitational event.
“The unique format has always been a hit with the players, who are competing for a share of the £205,000 prize fund and a place in the Champion of Champions.
“With the introduction of live streaming at Matchroom.Live throughout, and TV broadcasters for Winners’ Group, this year we’ll be making sure BetVictor Championship League Snooker is available for all snooker fans to watch and enjoy.
“We’re pleased to be working alongside BetVictor once again and we’re working hard to ensure fans will see increased production and staging levels compared to previous invitational Championship League events.
“Championship League has evolved dramatically over 2020 with many event formats pioneering the return of professional sport after the Covid-19 shutdown. We are keen to consistently push the CLS brand with both this Invitational Event and we hope that the Ranking Event edition will return later in 2021, offering all 128 WST Tour card holders the chance to participate.”
The BetVictor Championship League Snooker is a venture between Matchroom Multi Sport and Perform which began in 2008, where 25 of the game’s elite players compete with matches being broadcasted on the biggest sports streaming platforms.
Each group features seven players and is played across two days with two tables in operation. All matches are a best-of-five and each group is played to a round-robin format. The top four in each group contest the play-offs, with the eventual winner advancing to Winners’ Group. The three play-off players who don’t advance will move into the next group, where they are joined by the player who finished fifth in the table and three new players. Those finishing sixth and seventh in each group are eliminated from the competition.
A total of up to £205,000 prize money is available with players earning £100 per frame won, with significant bonuses for their final group position and increased prize money in the Winners’ Group. In its 12-year history, the BetVictor Championship League Snooker has paid out over £2,000,000 in prize money.
There was only one match yesterday, the second semi-final of this tournament, and, to me, it brought the biggest surprise of the week so far: Jack Lisowski beat Mark Selby and will play Judd Trump in the Final today.
Jack Lisowski described his 6-4 win over Mark Selby as the best performance of his career as he set up a final clash with Judd Trump at the matchroom World Grand Prix.
In a battle between two of snooker’s most flamboyant players, Lisowski will face Trump on Sunday over 19 frames for the trophy and a top prize of £100,000. Gloucestershire’s 29-year-old Lisowski will be playing in his fourth ranking final and aiming for his first title, having finished runner-up at the 2018 Riga Masters, 2019 China Open and 2019 Scottish Open.
He and Trump have been close friends since their junior days but they must set that bond aside when they collide on the table. Lisowski faces the toughest of opponents in the world number one, but he can take heart from the way he finished tonight’s match, just when it looked as if Selby was making a trademark comeback.
Up until four weeks ago it had been a disappointing 2020 for Lisowski as he had failed to go beyond the last 32 of a single ranking event. But the world number 15 has turned his fortunes around, reaching the quarter-finals of the Betway UK Championship and now this week’s final. He will hope to end the year in perfect fashion tomorrow night.
Tonight’s first frame lasted 38 minutes and came down to the colours. Selby, trailing 28-44, missed a tricky green along the baulk cushion and his opponent took advantage to go 1-0 ahead. Selby replied with a break of 112 but then spent most of the next four frames in his chair as Lisowski rattled in runs of 88, 89, 110 and 72 to go 5-1 ahead.
Selby’s fight-back started in frame seven with a fabulous 143 total clearance – the new front-runner for the £10,000 high break prize. In the eighth, Lisowski had a match-winning chance but missed the blue to a baulk corner when he trailed 35-46 with three reds left. Selby cleared to close to 5-3.
A run of 48 put Selby in control of the ninth. Lisowski had an opportunity to counter but made just 15 before missing the brown to a baulk corner, and soon found his advantage down to just one frame.
Selby looked set to make it 5-5 until he missed a tricky red with the spider on 52 in frame ten, and this time there was no mistake from Lisowski as a 78 clearance put him into the final.
“That’s the best performance of my career – to beat Mark in a big tournament,” said Lisowski. “It’s the most satisfying feeling I have ever had after a game of snooker, because I held it together when I needed to in the last frame.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was 5-1 up and everything was going in. Then Mark gathered momentum and I was getting worried. He shut me out and he’s the best in the world at doing that. If it had gone 5-5 then it wasn’t looking too pretty for me.
“I will be the underdog tomorrow, Judd has been the best player in the world by far over the last two years. It’s a big test for me. I’m going to keep going for my shots, I’ll need to play well and keep my cool.”
Selby said: “Jack played fantastic, I only missed a couple of balls and I was 5-1 down. If he plays like that he has every chance in the final.”
The underlined sentence is for Juan. See? Mark Selby outplayed Ronnie last Sunday and yesterday found himself 5-1 down having “only missed a couple of balls” . Nobody in their right mind will ever suppose that Mark didn’t try his hardest, nor that he doesn’t care. Quite simply, those things happen in sport. Yes, Mark fought back and made the score more honourable, but he still lost.
It’s worth noting that the differences in the psychology of the matches. When Ronnie faced Selby and Trump recently, he certainly wasn’t full of confidence, he knew that he isn’t playing well enough in recent months, and probably that undermined his inner belief that he could eventually win. It’s not at all a concious process though, it’s not a decision, but, likely, it impacted his game. Here, Mark has been in good form so far this season. Working with Chris Henry has rebuilt his confidence, he has won an the Scottish Open less than a week ago, he has beaten Jack in the SF en route: he certainly had the self-belief that he could turn things around yesterday, especially against someone who has struggled on the big stage more often than not. Yet, he couldn’t do it.
Today we will have yet another psychology at work. Judd Trump is the runaway World number one. He will be expected to win. That brings its own pressure. Jack has been in three finals and has lost on all three occasions: twice to Neil Robertson, once to Mark Selby. These matches weren’t particularly close either. Jack is clearly the “underdog” but Jhe will be desperate to finally win a ranking event. That too brings pressure.
Jack and Judd have shared an appartment for a long time, they have the same management, they come from the same area, they know each other since they were kids and they are friends. None of that will make it easier for either of them.
Interestingly, they have played each other 14 times in professional tournaments, and it’s 7 wins each. Their last match was a QF at the Players Championship in 2019. Judd won that one but it went to a decider…
Over the last weeks, since Ronnie has been nominated for SPOTY, the sport’s gouverning body has actively encouraged fans to vote for him. There have been other player’s interviews, articles and mentions in commentary.
Journalist and commentator David Hendon believes that Ronnie O’Sullivan has had a huge impact on snooker’s global popularity and his nomination for BBC Sports Personality of the Year is well overdue.
O’Sullivan has won 37 ranking titles and 20 Triple Crown events in a remarkable career, and this year became World Champion for the sixth time. For the first time, he is on the shortlist for the BBC award, alongside Lewis Hamilton, Hollie Doyle, Stuart Broad, Jordan Henderson and Tyson Fury.
You can vote for O’Sullivan this Sunday (December 20th) by telephone or online. For details of how to vote on the night, click here.
Hendon, who commentates for broadcasters including Eurosport and ITV, said: “It is long overdue when you consider his achievements over the past 30 years. A lot of us thought that it would happen in 2013 when he won the World Championship after a year off. There is a lot happening in the world of sport every year so it is difficult to get on to that shortlist. But when you look at what he has achieved in snooker – which is so popular on television – it’s amazing it has taken this long. Thank goodness he is on it this year.
“For many new fans of snooker he is a gateway into it. They might be flicking through the channels late at night, might have never seen snooker before. If he is playing, there is something about him as a character which draws people in. A lot of fans say that the first player they enjoy watching is Ronnie, and then they become interested in the sport. There was a guy from Kyrgyzstan the other day tweeting about the fact that he can’t play snooker in his country, but he loves watching Ronnie play. He is a worldwide figure, and a figurehead for snooker.
“He is a bit of a veteran now and you wouldn’t expect kids aged 12 or 13 to look up to someone of that age. But he doesn’t seem like a veteran because he is still playing the same type of attractive snooker he has always done, albeit with a bit more discipline in his game which is why he has stayed at the top level.
“The fact that he won the World Championship at the age of 44 is incredible. You can’t compare him to many other sportsmen in terms of how long he has been at the top – perhaps Phil Taylor in darts. You look at the players Ronnie has competed against – when he started, Steve Davis and Jimmy White were still top players. Then there was Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams, and now he is competing against the newer players like Judd Trump. His longevity is phenomenal.”
Even if you don’t like Ronnie, you should vote for him tonight if you can. Why? Because it’s not about him, it’s about snooker and its status as a sport.
When snooker was at its most popular, between 1981 and 1990, it got into the “last three” on seven occasions. Steve Davis is the only snooker player who ever won it, in 1988, but he made it to the last three on five occasions, finishing second in 1981 and 1987, third in 1984 and 1989. This is a record that he shares only with Lewis Hamilton. Other than that theere were second places for Alex Higgins (1982) and Stephen Hendry (1990). Since then? Nothing,
It’s been thirthy years. For whatever reason snooker has been snubbed, seen as some second rate sport, if a sport at all. Countless times, BBC has “cut” live snooker matches broadcasting in favour of pre-recorded programs or re-runs of previously shown content.
If you love your snooker, this is an opportunity to bring it in the spotligths again.
Jack Lisowski made an error which he described as “unforgiveable” but he recovered in time to beat Zhao Xintong 5-3 to reach the semi-finals of the matchroom World Grand Prix.
The incident came in the fourth frame when Lisowski, leading 2-1, was on a break of 25. He potted a red, had the white cleaned, then absent-mindedly forgot that he needed to play a colour next, and instead potted another red. Referee Nigel Leddie called the foul, and Zhao was handed the chance to make a break of 59 which proved enough to take the frame.
To his credit, Lisowski bounced back to take the three frames he needed after the interval to set up a semi-final with Mark Selby.
“It was a Jack Lisowski moment – pure stupidity,” smiled the 29-year-old after the match. “It was unforgiveable. I saw the funny side of it and we were both cracking up, but then I was stewing over it during the interval. It was a massive frame, but I’m glad I was able to forget about it and go on to win.”
After sharing the first two frames, Lisowski made a break of 111 to lead 2-1, then that error left them all square at the interval. A run of 109 saw world number 15 Lisowski regain the lead, then China’s Zhao made a 64 in the sixth as he recovered to 3-3.
Frame seven came down to the last two reds and Zhao, leading 60-29, played a poor safety which let Lisowski in for a superb 42 clearance which included several difficult pots. And Lisowski got the better of a fragmented eighth frame to reach the semi-finals of a ranking event for the sixth time in his career. The Gloucestershire cueman has made three finals – most recently at the 2019 Scottish Open – but is still waiting for his first title.
“Zhao is a similar player to me, today’s match was always going to be about who potted more, it wasn’t going to be a tactical battle,” said Lisowski. “I just had a bit more nous on the safety side and picked him off. I made a great clearance at 3-3, that was a big moment under pressure.
“I was really struggling at the start of this season but I turned it around at the UK Championship (reaching the quarter-finals) which got me into the Masters and into this week’s tournament. Now it’s turning into a very good few weeks. I still have a brick wall in front of me if I want to win the tournament, with Selby and then Judd Trump or Ronnie O’Sullivan, but I’ll try to punch my way through it.”
Selby battled to a 5-3 win over Hossein Vafaei to remain on course for back-to-back ranking titles, having won the Matchroom.Live Scottish Open last Sunday.
Leicester’s Selby built a 4-1 lead with a top break of 100. Iran’s Vafaei took a scrappy sixth frame then made a 78 to close to 4-3. Frame eight came down to the colours, Selby trapping his opponent in a touch snooker on the yellow. Vafaei went in-off, handing Selby the chance to wrap up the match.
“I missed a few balls and Hossein fed off my mistakes,” said world number four Selby after reaching his 51st ranking event semi-final. “My game didn’t click today but after playing so many matches recently I was bound to have a bad performance at some point. The main thing was to get the result.”
Here is the Lisowski incident:
Asked who he would prefer to play in the Final tomorrow, Judd gave a kind of diplomatic answer, but eventually it was rather Jack than Mark. Of course Jack is his friend and I don’t doubt that he would like to see him win a ranking event soon as he claimed, but probably not at his own expense, eh? The basic truth is that Jack’s game suits him better than Mark’s game, as it will be more open and bound to give him openings. Also, Mark has a vast experience of Finals, Jack doesn’t. That said, it’s the kind of question that I don’t really like to be asked to a player. The answer is obvious and the player is left with the difficult task to try not to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Judd Trump provided more evidence that he has superseded Ronnie O’Sullivan as snooker’s most powerful force with a resounding 6-1 victory to reach the final of the matchroom World Grand Prix.
Trump has now won five of his last six matches against O’Sullivan, and tonight’s clash was the most one-sided of those meetings, as the younger man completely outplayed his opponent. Full of confidence, Trump made two centuries and three more breaks over 50 as he cruised into the final.
O’Sullivan may have won the World Championship in August, but Trump’s consistency over the past 25 months has been extraordinary. The world number one, fearless against any opponent, has won 12 tournaments over that period and reached four further finals.
On Sunday he will face Mark Selby or Jack Lisowski over 19 frames for the £100,000 top prize. Victory would give 31-year-old Trump his 20th ranking title and third of the season.
Bristol’s Trump took the first three frames tonight with a top break of 59. In the fourth, he missed a red to a top corner on 65, letting his opponent in for a 71 clearance to make it 3-1 at the interval.
That clearance proved the only highlight of the contest for O’Sullivan. Trump reeled off the last three frames with runs of 100, 107 and 69.
“It was a special performance tonight,” said Trump. “After the first frame I felt in control. My safety was good and I forced him into errors. It’s important against Ronnie not to let him get in front, so after the first frame I was on top.
“I am somewhere near my best. But I strongly believe he will get back to his best soon. Everyone goes through spells where they lose confidence. You have to stamp on your opponent when he is down – Ronnie has done that to everyone in the past. I want to keep winning our matches to keep that doubt in his head.
“There have been a lot of events this season, I have just been happy to be playing and enjoying snooker. That attitude has stood me in good stead. I have battled through matches when I have been behind and won a few deciding frames. Now there is one final hurdle of the year to get over.”
Asked who he would prefer to play in the final, Trump replied: “Mark Selby looks back to his best and I would like to test myself against him. But I’d be really happy for Jack Lisowski if he beats Mark and that would be an excellent final.”
O’Sullivan said: “The way Judd is playing at the moment, you have to bring your A game to have a chance. If you don’t, you can get beaten very heavily. He is cleaning up, the only player who can give him a game is Neil Robertson. Those two and Mark Selby will win the majority of the tournaments this season.”
The score is very one-sided, but the first mini session, that ended with Judd leading 3-1, certainly was very close. It wasn’t a blitz either as the first two frames in particular were lengthy ones. In that first part of the match, Judd was only marginally the better player. Ronnie applied himself – as he has done all season so far – and played some really excellent safeties. In the first two frames played for snookers and got them but couldn’t win the frames. The way he lost the second one was particularly unfortunate. He also didn’t get any run of the balls … something he wouldn’t mention contrary to some other player(s) whenever they lose 😉.
The second mini-session was a lot faster and Judd dominated it.
WORLD GRAND PRIX SNOOKER 2020 – JUDD TRUMP POWERS PAST RONNIE O’SULLIVAN TO BOOK FINAL SPOT
Judd Trump knocked in his 47th and 48th centuries of the season on his way to victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan in the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes. The world number one has been dominant over the world champion in recent times and was impressive in claiming a 6-1 victory.
Judd Trump produced a supreme display, rolling in two centuries, to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-1 to reach the final of the World Grand Prix.
O’Sullivan against Trump is the big rivalry in the game: the world champion versus the world number one.
Trump has had the upper hand in recent times, winning four of their previous five meetings ahead of the clash at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes. And that record was enhanced on Friday, as he edged into an early lead and never relinquished the advantage.
Fireworks were predicted, but it was a damp-squib of a start. Trump – who lost in the second round in this event last season – took the opening frame in 34 minutes and it was similarly cagey in the second.
O’Sullivan stroked in an excellent opening red, but a big kick left him out of position and Trump knocked in a 59 – leaving his opponent requiring two snookers with only one red left on the table.
The world champion got them both, but he missed a long red and it let in Trump to take the second frame after well over an hour of play.
O’Sullivan was subdued in the first couple of frames, but burst into life with an excellent break in the third. He knocked in a series of difficult pots, but broke down on the final red – leaving it in the jaws and Trump stepped in to clear to the pink and move three frames to the good.
Losing the third could have been a hammer blow to O’Sullivan – and it looked like being the case when Trump got in amongst the balls in the fourth. He knocked in a 65 and was a red and a colour away from the frame, but did not convert a red down the side rail.
O’Sullivan emerged from his chair and knocked in a supreme break of 71 to get on the scoreboard.
Trump came back after the interval unfazed by the loss of the previous frame as he stepped up to the table and knocked in a fantastic 100 – his 47th century of the season – to move 4-1 in front.
Century number 48 – a 107 – came in the following frame as Trump moved to within one frame of victory.
Trump got the better of a safety battle at the start of the seventh frame and it set him up to close out the victory in style.
“I’ve got no complaints. I didn’t give him a game and even if was on my game, I maybe still wouldn’t have given him a game,” said O’Sullivan, who overcame Ali Carter, Barry Hawkins and Kyren Wilson without ever excelling in the event. “He was potting them off the lampshades.
“Scoring for fun, very good safety – there’s not a lot you can do about it when your opponent plays perfect snooker.
“Whenever you get chances against Judd, you have to take them these days. If you don’t take them, it’s going to be your last one.”
… (about Judd’s potential opponents chances in the Final)
“He is beatable, but you have to play very well to beat him. He’s playing flawless snooker.
“The guys that are left in are capable of beating him, but whether they can do that remains to be seen.”
“It will be interesting to watch.”
… (Judd’s quotes)
“I can’t remember anybody having a start to a season like this,” he said. “I remember Stephen Hendry in his prime, reaching six or seven finals in a season.
“I’ve not seen anybody have the consistency I’ve had this season. It just motivates me to play even more and it is nice people expect me to win even when I play Ronnie.
“I’ve just to keep improving and keep reaching the latter stages and eventually I’ll have some credit.“
It’s not the first time that Judd complains about not getting enough credit. I think that he gets a lot of credit by commentators and pundits, and here again by his beaten opponent. His consistency over the last two seasons is exceptional indeed.
There is a few things he should consider though:
When Hendry was in his prime there were only about 8-10 ranking tournaments per season. So reaching finals in six or seven of them was quite something.
Hendry and Ronnie were/are serial winners when it came/comes to major events. Judd hasn’t done that well in them so far.
Even when comparing with players closer to him in age, he hasn’t yet built the same “legacy”. Mark Selby has won 19 ranking titles, like Judd, but that includes 3 Worlds and 2 UKs; Judd has won each just once. Mark has also won the Masters 3 times from 5 finals; Judd has won the Masters once, on the only occasion he reached the final.
He has the potential and the opportunities to build a fantastic legacy, he has more events to play in than ever before, and nobody in his “generation” seems to be capable of challenging him. When you look at who he has met in finals over the last years, it’s mainly Ronnie and Neil Robertson, then John Higgins, Stuart Bingham, Shaun Murphy. Yes, he’s beating them, particlarly the last two years. He’s about 14 years younger than Ronnie, Bingham, Higgins, and 7 years younger than Robertson and Murphy. He has time on his side, a lot of confidence and little opposition coming after him.