Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump will clash in a mouthwatering World Snooker Championship final at the Crucible Theatre.
The English pair emerged from contrasting semi-final battles against John Higgins and Mark Williams on Saturday in Sheffield.
O’Sullivan was in full control as he comprehensively outplayed fellow Class of ’92 graduate Higgins with a 17-11 scoreline.
Trump, meanwhile, was forced to dig deep and win the last two frames to prevail in an epic 17-16 contest with Williams.
The result is a World Snooker Championship final that has been more than a decade in the making, with the sport being the obvious winner.
While Trump will be bidding for a second world title to add to the previous one he captured in 2019, the Rocket is hoping to land a record-equalling seventh crown.
A clash of different eras but similar styles, O’Sullivan and Trump represent two of the most naturally talented cueists the game has ever witnessed.
Having previously played each other in other notable title deciders such as in the UK Championship and at the Masters, the duo will finally duel on snooker’s most important stage in its most prestigious match.
It is a fixture that has the potential to be an absolute classic, with attacking play and sizable contributions expected from start to finish.
Their routes to the finals could not have been much more different, with Trump tested and put under pressure in three out of his four victories to this point.
The world number four has grown steadily in confidence and form as the fortnight has progressed, reaping the rewards of an all-round game that has come on leaps and bounds in the last few seasons.
O’Sullivan, on the other hand, has rarely had his back against the wall, producing a consistent and measured standard to coast through all four rounds.
Apart from a few early-match wobbles, the Englishman has been able to keep his challengers at bay with his trademark scoring – tallying five tons against Higgins and a dozen in the event overall.
If the outcome was to be based on their exploits from this tournament alone, the 46 year-old would be the obvious choice as the favourite.
But of course it isn’t that simple, and there’s plenty of history between these two fierce competitors on the baize.
Trump leads the head-to-head 15-14 in all competitions, but perhaps crucially the Juddernaut boasts an 8-3 advantage from their previous meetings in finals.
That includes the last four times the pair has crossed paths with silverware on the line, which might give the 32 year-old a slight edge in the mind games.
With the season-ending world number one position on the line as well, it’s a grandstand finale to a campaign that has often been full of surprises but finishes with two of the sport’s highest profile stars in action.
Six out of the last eight World Championship finals have needed at least 32 out of the 35 allotted frames to determine the champion.
This encounter could be just as close, and it has all the ingredients required to be a showdown that goes all the way to a deciding frame – something that hasn’t happened in 20 years.
Should Trump emerge on top, the Bristol potter will become only the tenth multiple world champion from the modern era.
O’Sullivan, of course, chases history with a seventh success in Sheffield that would only serve to reaffirm his status as the greatest player ever.
It’s a World Snooker Championship final not to be missed.
Featured photo credit: WST