Judd Trump has captured glory in the 2023 Masters after an enthralling 10-8 victory over Mark Williams at the Alexandra Palace on Sunday.
An entertaining and tense title decider in London concluded with the 33 year-old lifting the Paul Hunter Trophy in London.
The triumph, from which he pockets £250,000, represents Trump’s second at the Masters and a fourth Triple Crown title overall.
It was a final played in good spirit with both players mixing high-quality spells of high scoring with dramatic bouts of tension.
Williams, who at 47 became the oldest Masters finalist since Ray Reardon’s run aged 50 in 1983, started the contest off brilliantly with a 138 total clearance in the opening frame.
But the Welshman looked nervous in the exchanges after, and Trump took advantage by producing some of his best snooker of the week.
The world number four compiled breaks of 61, 106, and 73 to orchestrate a 4-1 cushion, but his esteemed opponent responded with runs of 100 and 89 to trail just 5-3 after the conclusion of the first session.
After the next two frames were subsequently shared at the beginning of the evening’s bout of play, Williams won three frames on the trot to lead 7-6.
A lengthy 14th frame that lasted nearly an hour ensued, with Trump demonstrating some terrific battling qualities and top-drawer safety to draw level again.
Undeterred, Williams moved back in front with a coolly made 107 break – his third century break of the topsy-turvy affair.
However, Trump dug deep to win the next couple of frames to move to within the brink, before a fabulous 126 sealed the deal at the end.
The world number four said it was by far his best ever success, and it’s easy to understand why he thinks that way.
He probably should have been out in the first round after a terrible display against Ryan Day and he was below par again against Barry Hawkins in the last eight.
But in both cases he relied on resolves he didn’t boast at earlier periods of his career, outlasting the two opponents in deciding frames.
After a more comprehensive semi-final defeat of Stuart Bingham, Trump was again brutally tested in the final today.
There were times when it looked as though he was going into his shell and playing too defensively, but in the end he found the right combination of his natural attacking prowess and his developed tactical versatility.
He will be in action again on Tuesday at the World Grand Prix, but he joked that he wished he didn’t have to play at Cheltenham and wanted to “get smashed” instead.
Trump deserves to celebrate following a testing tournament to open the 2023 calendar year – one that he concludes as a merited Masters champion.
Featured photo credit: WST