The first ever final of the International Championship takes place tomorrow as two of the sport’s most successful players of recent times lock horns in Chengdu.
Judd Trump yesterday outplayed former world champion Peter Ebdon in a 9-1 hiding that had the added bonus of assuring his place at the top of the world rankings for the first time.
The 23 year-old becomes only the tenth ever player to have held the coveted position – sharing company with the man he’ll face in Sunday’s showdown, Neil Robertson.
Earlier today, the Australian went 3-1 down early doors but completely controlled proceedings thereafter, putting in an assured performance to oust Shaun Murphy 9-5 and firing in a tournament high break of 142 in the process.
As stated, Trump and Robertson have been two of the most consistent achievers over the last number of years.
In a recent article about consistency, I debated whether it was possible in the modern era for a player to be so dominant that he could emerge from a season with multiple titles.
Well, in the 2011/12 campaign both the ‘Juddernaut’ and the ‘Thunder from Down Under’ boasted three trophies to their credit.
Robertson has already bagged himself another during this season when he came from 3-0 down to Jamie Burnett in the Gdynia Open to win 4-3 in Poland.
Trump, meanwhile, is on a hot streak of form having now reached back-to-back ranking event finals following his narrow defeat to John Higgins in the Shanghai Masters.
Both, evidently, have a great degree of pedigree. Arguably, none more so than Robbo who has failed to win only one of his 13 professional finals – an unbelievable statistic.
Bristol’s Trump will have to be at is very best because if there is one thing that Robertson knows how to do it’s win at the big moment.
There’s a little added spice to this encounter as well given their history in the last 12 months, seemingly not exactly best friends on or off the circuit.
This all came to a head at the Masters last January when Robertson studiously overcame Trump 6-3 to reach the final – which, of course, he went on and won.
Trump accused the Melbourne man of being “a little bit boring” while the latter retorted by all but accusing the young prodigy’s mates in the crowd of unfair heckling.
A bit of needle is great for the game and to be honest I hope some of this shines through during their best of 19 frames contest.
I said earlier in the week that Trump and Mark Allen were developing a nice little rivalry, if albeit a more friendly one, and with the likes of Robertson and Ding Junhui, if he ever could find his form, there could be a fearsome foursome much to the same ilk as the Hendry, Higgins, O’Sullivan, Williams era.
Either way, tomorrow’s final promises to be an enthralling affair between two of snooker’s most exciting talents as they go in search of what is now being widely regarded as the fourth major.
The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.