Judd Trump beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-3 in an outstanding final to claim the ninth Players Tour Championship of the season in Belgium.
In front of a packed audience of more than 1500 people who generated an electric atmosphere, two of the sport’s most gifted talents conjured up the match of the campaign so far with a flurry of quickfire, enthralling snooker.
From the outset of the day, the fans hoped for a final between the pair and they duly got what they yearned for in spectacular fashion.
Both players were at the top of their game and wasted little opportunity in going for their shots in an attacking encounter that lasted just over an hour.
After an early bout of safety in the opening frame – pretty much the only tactical exchange in the entire contest – O’Sullivan landed a 63 break to establish an early advantage.
However, an unexpected missed black off the spot in the second frame allowed Trump in for his first meaningful chance and before long the China Open champion was 3-1 ahead.
Breaks of 68 and two 69s brought Trump to within one of victory as the 22 year-old effortlessly strode around the baize potting balls off lampshades.
However, if Trump’s play was effortless the next two frames from his opponent were simply sublime.
The ‘Rocket’ fired in back-to-back century breaks of 118 and 132 to tie the match up at 3-3 and force a decider.
By this stage, the match had become more of an exhibition rather than a big final carrying ranking points as both cueists showed off their talents in suitably artistic fashion.
O’Sullivan potted a long red to grab the first chance in the final frame but failed to get nicely on the black and two breaks around 40 from Trump – the only frame that didn’t boast at least a half century from either player – were enough to seal a memorable triumph.
The victory marks the second PTC event that world championship finalist Trump has won during the series this year – the same number as O’Sullivan himself and Australian Neil Robertson.
Earlier in the day, Trump saw off the challenges of Tom Ford, world champion John Higgins and Martin Gould in the semi-finals while O’Sullivan had an equally tough run in with defeats of Stephen Lee, Robertson and Graeme Dott.
Yet, the entire event will be remembered for a final that proved, without any doubt whatsoever, how entertaining this sport can be.
Once again, the crowds at a PTC event in mainland Europe were excellent throughout the weekend and it would not be a surprise to see a full ranking event being held in Belgium in the near future.
Germany and Poland have already also proven that interest is high across the continent and Belgium has now been firmly added to that list.
With the UK Championship coming up in a few weeks, it will be interesting to see whether both Trump and O’Sullivan can maintain their form going into the second major.