Judd Trump Stages Remarkable Comeback to Claim 24th Ranking Title at BetVictor English Open

Picture Credit: WST

In an impressive comeback, Judd Trump reversed a 7-3 deficit to defeat Zhang Anda 9-7 in the BetVictor English Open final, securing his 24th ranking title after a 19-month drought.

Zhang, hailing from China, had never advanced beyond the quarter-finals in a ranking event, making his challenge a potential upset akin to Fan Zhengyi’s victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan in the 2022 European Masters final. However, a critical missed blue, when he had the opportunity to lead 8-3, marked the turning point as Trump rallied to win the last six frames. Trump had previously overcome a 5-2 deficit in the semi-final against John Higgins on Saturday, showcasing his tenacity.

This triumph ended a prolonged ranking title dry spell for the 34-year-old from Bristol, dating back to the Turkish Masters in March 2022. Although he secured a victory in snooker’s prestigious Masters event in January of the same year, his performances in ranking tournaments left him dissatisfied, notably the loss to Barry Hawkins in the BetVictor European Masters final in August.

With 24 ranking titles, Trump now stands alone in sixth place on the all-time list, surpassing Neil Robertson and trailing just one title behind Mark Williams. This victory marked his second English Open crown, propelling him to the top of the BetVictor Series rankings after three of the eight qualifying events. The leader of the BetVictor Series after the BetVictor Welsh Open in February would claim a £150,000 bonus, a prize Trump had previously won in both 2020 and 2021. Additionally, he ascended to fourth place in the world rankings and second on the one-year list.

Zhang, aged 31, experienced the best week of his snooker career, notably eliminating Ronnie O’Sullivan in the last 16. Although he appeared composed and in control at 7-3, he faltered in the closing stages, missing the chance to become the sixth player from mainland China to win a ranking title. Nevertheless, the £35,000 runner-up prize marked a substantial payday, boosting him from 57th to 40th in the world rankings.

After leading 5-3 following the initial session, Zhang swiftly gained a lead in the first two frames of the final night, displaying breaks of 109 and 98 for a 7-3 advantage. However, a missed blue in the 11th frame, when Zhang could have extended his lead to 8-3, proved pivotal. Trump seized the opportunity and steadily gained momentum, culminating in a total clearance of 135 to narrow the deficit to 7-5 at the interval.

Frame 13 proved to be a scrappy affair, ultimately going to Trump as he closed the gap to just one frame. Trump’s subsequent performance, including a run of 53, allowed him to square the match at 8-8. In the fragmented 15th frame, Trump secured an 8-7 lead before finishing the contest in style with a break of 92, eliciting cheers from the enthusiastic audience during his victory lap.

Reflecting on the challenging match, Trump acknowledged the pressure he faced, particularly as Zhang played impressively until the 7-3 mark. He commended Zhang’s skill and composure, emphasizing the importance of patience and perseverance in overcoming the odds. Trump also highlighted a critical moment when he chose to change his tip during the match, a decision that ultimately contributed to his victory. He expressed gratitude for the tremendous support from the lively crowd throughout the week, especially during the intense semi-finals and final.

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