Judd Trump and Hossein Vafaei will face each other in the first round of the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
Judd Trump’s season so far
What a topsy-turvy 2021/22 season it has been for Judd Trump.
The 32 year-old has failed to lived up to the dizzying standard he produced throughout 2019 and 2020, but he has still bagged a brace of big trophies.
Trump claimed the prestigious Champion of Champions for the first time in his career with a dominant display – losing only five frames in four matches.
The 32 year-old also captured the inaugural Turkish Masters last month for his 23rd career ranking event crown.
There have been a lot of uncharacteristically sloppy performances too, though, and at times he has looked a little burnt out.
Trump, the world champion from 2019, has reached at least the quarter-finals in each of his last four Crucible visits.
Hossein Vafaei’s season so far
It’s been a breakthrough campaign for Vafaei in many ways, especially after he claimed a maiden piece of professional silverware at the Shoot Out in January.
Vafaei also reached the semi-finals of the Welsh Open and is now knocking on the door of a place among the top 16 in the rankings.
By qualifying for the Crucible for the first time, the 27 year-old will become the first Iranian to feature at the venue stages – a proud moment for him and his country.
Why he took it upon himself to then go on a strangely timed rant attacking Ronnie O’Sullivan, suggesting the Rocket is bad for the game and should retire, is anyone’s guess.
Trump and Vafaei have played each other eight times in all competitions, with the Bristol potter boasting a 5-3 advantage.
Their most recent meeting was in the last four of this year’s Welsh Open, with Trump emerging in a deciding-frame thriller.
Trump enters this year’s edition of the World Championship with the focus firmly on other players – especially Neil Robertson and Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Usually that would irritate Trump as he enjoys the limelight, but this time it might suit him to come in under the radar somewhat.
There are many tipping Vafaei for an upset, but his level is still inconsistent and that can be found out quickly at the Crucible, particularly on one’s debut.
Prediction: Judd Trump 10-6 Hossein Vafaei
Wednesday, April 20th – 2:30pm
Thursday, April 21st – 7pm
Featured photo credit: WST