'Astonishing' Trump dominates Crucible final against Higgins

Snooker
'Astonishing' Trump dominates Crucible final against Higgins

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Judd Trump produced a dazzling display to open a 12-5 lead over John Higgins and take total control of the World Championship final at the Crucible.

The players were tied at 4-4 after a first session featuring four centuries and three further breaks of 50 or more.

Higgins started the second session with a ton, but a clinical Trump won a remarkable eight frames in a row, helped by two more century breaks.

The best-of-35 match resumes on Monday at 14:00 BST, live on BBC TV.

Masters champion Trump, who lost to Higgins in the 2011 Crucible final, is looking to win the world title for the first time.

The Englishman, 29, would complete the Triple Crown of winning all of snooker's top three events, having won the UK Championship in 2011, if he can clinch another six frames.

"This has been controlled annihilation of a great player," said six-time world champion Steve Davis on BBC Two.

"I've seen some astonishing snooker here, a lot of it from Ronnie O'Sullivan, but that was a different type of astonishing. I am a little bit in shock.

"He is making a lot of very difficult shots seem very easy. He's not had easy breaks, they've been problematic, but he has pulled shot after shot out of the bag."

Higgins, runner-up in the past two finals, is aiming to match Ronnie O'Sullivan by claiming a fifth title but the 43-year-old Scot will need to produce a stunning comeback to halt Trump.

The final session will begin at 19:00 BST, with the winner collecting the trophy and a record 500,000 in prize money.

Though Higgins stroked in a 125 break at the start of the second session, Trump took control by winning the 10th frame with a stunning 114 break and then demonstrating his improved tactical game by clinching a 35-minute 11th.

Trump's best pot came in the 10th frame when he powered in a red down the cushion and, with a swish of the cue, managed to screw the cueball back into the baulk area.

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry, commentating on BBC Two, called it "the shot of the championship" adding: "He is probably the only player in the game that can produce that sort of shot."

Former champion Ken Doherty said the way Trump hit the shot reminded him of Alex Higgins. "His whole body goes into the shot and his head goes into the air," he said. "It goes against the whole ethos of the coaching manual.

"I could be there for a month of Sundays and never produce a shot like that. He's a great entertainer and a prodigious talent."

The Englishman made further runs of 114, 71, 58 and 70 to open a substantial advantage heading into last day of the tournament.

"It is frightening what Judd Trump can do with the ball," added Davis. "This has been a masterclass. He looks like a world champion in the making."

This year's opening session was described by 1997 champion Doherty as "one of the best ever" - Trump showing his form as a pre-tournament favourite with breaks of 51, 63 and 105.

After his dramatic semi-final win over David Gilbert in a final-frame decider, Higgins criticised the scheduling of the final which takes place over two days with sessions starting at 14:00 and 19:00.

But the Scot seemed to be unaffected as he won three frames in a row including runs of 139, 69 and 101.

The high scoring continued in the first session's final frame with Trump responding in style with a break of 103 to level the match at 4-4.

"It really is astonishing," said Davis on BBC Two. "You very rarely get two players playing so well at the same time. When it happens it is worth savouring."

Higgins goes into Monday facing the unenviable prospect of trying to draw the sting out of Trump's dominant showing.

However, he can draw comfort from the numerous comebacks down the years in Crucible finals.

The 43-year-old himself need look no further than his past two finals for templates, with Mark Selby overturning a 10-4 deficit to wrestle the crown away from Higgins in 2017.

In 2018, Higgins clawed back seven frames on Mark Williams to draw level at 15-15 before eventually losing to the Welshman.

Hendry arguably delivered one of the most compelling comebacks, coming back from 14-8 down to reel off 10 frames on the trot against Jimmy White in the 1992 showpiece.

Going further back, Dennis Taylor's famous fightback in the 1985 final against Davis arrived after he had lost the first eight frames.

"Judd Trump was clinical as well as brilliant and he quite rightly got a standing ovation," said Davis. "I would have hated to be sitting where John was. It was horrible for him.

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