Judd Trump avoided becoming one of the major UK Championship upsets as he marched into the second round with a 6-1 victory over David Lilley on Thursday in York.
The world number two wasn’t troubled much in what was a mostly one-sided affair in which he tallied breaks of 132, 100, 58, and 51 at the Barbican Centre.
Trump is bidding for back-to-back titles after a dominant success in last week’s Champion of Champions in Bolton in which he lost only five frames across the tournament – including a 10-4 victory against John Higgins in the final.
“It’s difficult. You’re fatigued after and it’s so draining to win an event, you’re just mentally drained.” Judd Trump explained to Rob Walker in his post-match interview, with the 32 year-old pleased to avoid the same fate suffered by Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson after his opening-round encounter in the UK Championship.
“Even though the manner was (convincing) against John, you can never relax at any point, so the next day I drove home, which is a long drive, and I didn’t really do much.”
“I’ve had a couple of really good days practice, and then I came up here yesterday so I’m prepared again and this is another big event. You’ve just got to keep that momentum going and enjoy being back playing snooker every week.
“You always want to get through that first game, every year there’s shocks and a lot of the top players – or certainly one or two of the top players – seem to lose every time.
“There are a lot of great professionals, and when they do get their chance to play against top players they do win now and again.
“You need these story lines. It can’t just be the top boys playing each other all the time – there has to be the FA Cup story where the lower-ranked players get the chance and get through.”
Trump will face Chris Wakelin in the last 64 of the UK Championship, a player he has never lost to from eight previous meetings.
“He should have beaten me in the World Championship and he’s had a couple of good games against Mark Selby – they are probably his best wins.”
“He played really well against Stephen Hendry recently so he likes the big stage I think. He’ll be more than up for this game, so he’s not someone you can take lightly.
“I’ve been playing well all season. From the outside if you’re looking in, I haven’t won any events after winning so much and having these high expectations now, then people are always going to question it.
“But I knew, and people around me knew, how hard I work still and it was just a matter of time. You’ve got to keep winning to keep the momentum up and having the belief from getting over the line last week can only benefit you.
“You want to win at least a title a season, and now that’s gone you feel a little bit more free and relaxed. You can enjoy yourself for the rest of the season.”
Elsewhere on day three, there was a huge shock as defending champion Robertson crashed out in a 6-2 reverse against John Astley.
Northern Ireland Open champion Mark Allen and Masters winner Yan Bingtao were among the high-profile names to safely make it through their initial tests, however.
Featured photo credit: WST