Judd Trump has won the Gibraltar Open after a dramatic 4-3 victory over Kyren Wilson at the Europa Point Sports Complex.
Success represents the world number one’s sixth snooker ranking event title of the campaign – breaking the record of five for a single term that he previously shared with Stephen Hendry, Ding Junhui, Mark Selby, and Ronnie O’Sullivan.
With the £50,000 champion’s cheque, Trump also usurps Neil Robertson at the top of the European Series order of merit standings.
With earnings of £130,000 across the four counting tournaments in the inaugural series, Trump pips his Australian rival’s tally of £115,000 and duly pockets the tidy £150,000 bonus.
It prolongs a remarkable campaign for the world number one, who has now accumulated 17 career snooker ranking event victories – taking him level on the all-time list with Selby in joint seventh.
Trump recorded an overdue maiden success in the World Championship last May, and many subsequently predicted that he would struggle during his initial period as the Crucible champion as so many other first-time winners had done in the past.
Yet, the 30 year-old has gone from strength to strength after finally reaching his potential.
Trump is in the midst of producing one of the greatest seasons any player has conjured in the sport, and his dominance is underlined by a runaway lead at the top of the world rankings.
The Englishman didn’t have it all his own way in an entertaining Gibraltar Open final, though.
Despite playing in an empty arena, with fans not allowed inside due to the coronavirus outbreak, the pair manufactured a thrilling battle.
Trump’s hat-trick of century breaks, another theme from his campaign as he extends his total this term to 97, included a magnificent tournament-high 144.
Wilson, who would have qualified for next week’s Tour Championship with victory today, responded well with a ton of his own, and the Kettering cueist led 3-2 after snatching successive frames on the colours.
But when Trump equalised to force a decider, he subsequently got in first to establish an advantage in the final frame that Wilson ultimately wasn’t able to recover from.
— Joe Perry (@joegentlemanjoe) March 15, 2020
Trump’s incredible run of success over the last 18 or so months, in which he has emerged victorious from the last nine ranking event finals he has participated in, has been founded not only on his brilliant break-building but also a vastly improved ability to overcome adversity in the tougher ties.
There might never be a greater opportunity for a player in this kind of form to break the “Curse of the Crucible”, which has prevented any first-time champion returning to Sheffield the following year to defend the crown.
However, whether or not Trump will get that chance remains to be seen as there is a cloud of doubt over whether or not the remainder of the season will actually conclude as a result of the ongoing worldwide pandemic.
If the season were to end now, it has certainly been a fitting conclusion as the best player in the world underlined his credentials yet again.
Featured photo credit: WST