From DC Sport:
2010 world champion Neil Robertson became the latest player to succumb to the ‘Crucible Curse’ as he fell at the first hurdle to rising star Judd Trump at The Crucible.
In a highly dramatic encounter, Trump kept his composure towards the end to win a tight contest 10-8 and ensure that the run of first time champions who fail to defend their trophy continues.
The result will go down as a shock in many circles but, in truth, it will only come as a small surprise to those that have followed this season closely.
Australian Robertson has struggled since claiming the World Open in October – winning only a smattering of matches – while his 21 year-old opponent is hot off the back of his inaugural ranking event triumph in China earlier this month.
Trump has long been tipped as a future world champion.
Indeed, I remember the likes of Willie Thorne speaking on BBC commentary about a young player that was taking the junior ranks by storm. At that time, Trump was only 13 or 14.
The teenager quickly joined the Main Tour as a professional but struggled when he realised that the difference in class between the amateur and professional ranks was extreme.
The considerable amount of matches lost in his first few years came as a sudden shock to the system and Trump failed to make the rapid rise through the rankings as was primarily expected.
His talent, though, is so great that few doubted the Bristol player would never make his impact on the sport and this year, with the help of the innovation of several new events on the calendar, has allowed the ‘Juddernaut’ to gain in confidence.
It has been a number of years since a young and exciting player has invigorated snooker – Ding in 2005 probably being the last – and Trump’s now official emergence into the big-time is a mouthwatering prospect not only for the years ahead, but for this very tournament.
Trump will face either Marco Fu or Martin Gould in the next round where punters will surely expect him to progress into the second week of the marathon event.
It remains to be seen how he will be able to cope with the added pressure that will arise with the constant media and fan expectations over the next few days but Trump has already proven what an excellent temperament he has developed within himself.
Furthermore, it was evident in today’s clash. Robertson rattled in two centuries in the opening session but still trailed 5-4 while Trump refused to panic despite missing two easy frame balls that gifted his opponent a 7-6 advantage late on.
It is a sad end to Robertson’s reign as champion and he will be disappointed not to have put up a better showing in Sheffield but the Melbourne potter will contest for snooker’s holy grail once again,without question.
This year the trophy will change hands and, who knows, it may be the beginning of a new era if Trump can go all the way to the final in two weeks time.
That remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that the 2011 World Snooker Championship has, as predicted, got off to a spectacular start. Here’s hoping for more of the same.