Judd Trump has won the inaugural International Championship after overcoming Neil Robertson in a fantastic final in Chengdu 10-8.
The new world no.1 had to battle hard against his Australian opponent, who was on the losing end in a final for only the second time in his career, coming from 8-6 down to reel off four flawless frames in a row to lift the coveted trophy.
Trump began the encounter well by establishing an early 2-0 advantage but Robertson fought hard and rode his luck to take a narrow 5-4 lead into the second session.
In a topsy-turvy affair, Trump then won the opening two frames of the evening’s play to go 6-5 in front and looked to be taking control of proceedings before a dangerous shot with his right hand was left over the bag.
Melbourne’s Robertson, who won the Gdynia Open only a few weeks ago, stepped up a couple of gears and reeled off three frames either side of the mid-session interval to go within two of glory at 8-6.
But Trump knuckled down and began to perform like his new status at the top of the ranking list suggests he ought to – firing in top breaks of 96 and 119 to lead 9-8, before dominating the final frame for his third ranking event title.
All of his major success in the professional circuit has remarkably come in the last 18 months.
While it seems like he has been around forever, it has really been a very short time in which he has enjoyed such a meteoric rise to the summit of the sport.
The 23 year-old is winning regularly and has defied the critics who either labelled him as lucky or of lacking consistency in the spell subsequent to his UK Championship success last December.
Trump will now seek to prolong his reign in York when the first major trophy back on English soil is decided next month.
With so many players capable of being triumphant in tournaments these days it is difficult to envisage anyone dominating in the same ilk as a Steve Davis or Stephen Hendry.
But if you had to choose one person who could come close to achieving similar success it would arguably be the Bristol basher.
Trump has now finished runner-up and victorious in the last two ranking events and the scary thing is that I don’t even think he played his best snooker this week.
While there is a packed and stacked calendar between now and the end of the season, Trump’s primary concern will surely soon be turning to a tilt at his first world title in May.
Of course, he already knows what it takes to embark on a run to the final at the Crucible but it is a different kettle of fish actually realising the dream of winning the famous trophy.
That said, Trump’s demeanour around the table is markedly different even in the last year or so.
The 2011 China Open champion is still attacking and remains keen on having the mindset of entertaining the audience, but it is clear he is becoming wary of the importance of being more careful with his shot selection.
By the time he is fully matured, Trump may have lost the raw talent excitement we witnessed in his breakthrough year, but he will have become a more complete player overall – and that is a very ominous omen for his fellow competitors on tour.
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