An in-form Judd Trump won the inaugural Wuhan Open title with a 10-7 victory over Ali Carter on Sunday in China.
It’s a second trophy in as many weeks for Trump, who around this time last Sunday was outlasting Zhang Anda in the English Open final.
There were many people criticising a taxing schedule on the World Snooker Tour that saw ranking tournaments staged in successive weeks on opposite sides of the world.
However, Trump made a mockery of those concerns.
The Englishman made an immediate journey from Brentwood to Wuhan and powered his way through the rounds in what was the first ranking event in China since 2019.
An entertaining title decider against Carter ebbed one way and the other as both players had moments in the ascendancy.
Trump began the stronger, defying a century break from his opponent to win four out of the opening five frames.
But the 34 year-old wasn’t quite at his free-scoring best, which provided Carter with opportunities to dig deep and force his way back into the affair.
Indeed, the Captain snatched the last four frames of the first session in gritty fashion to orchestrate a 5-4 advantage of his own.
Upon the Wuhan Open final’s resumption in the evening, Trump duly discovered his scoring boots and reeled off three frames on the spin with contributions of 116, 56, and 71.
Carter, bidding for a second piece of silverware in 2023 following his success at the German Masters in February, then made a 56 to trail by one at the last mid-session interval.
The following exchanges became scrappy, but in stark contrast to early on in the encounter it was Trump who ultimately benefited – taking two lengthier frames to move to within the brink of glory.
It looked as though he was about to wrap up the victory in the 16th frame, but an unexpected missed red allowed Carter in to stay alive.
At 9-7, though, Trump got in again to make the vital contribution, a fitting 105 century break that sealed the Wuhan Open title and his 25th ranking triumph overall.
That takes him into joint-fifth on the all-time list alongside Mark Williams, who only just captured his 25th title in the recent British Open.
It will be a disappointing ending to an otherwise excellent week for Carter, who is on the cusp of rejoining the top ten in the world rankings.
Yet Trump is undoubtedly the man of the moment and the player of the 2023/24 season so far.
He has demonstrated in the past his ability to enjoy dominant spells on the main tour, and he is currently showing all the signs of repeating that.
The £140,000 champion’s cheque is enough to see him rise above Mark Allen and back into the world’s top three.
With Ronnie O’Sullivan and Luca Brecel failing to pick up many ranking points this term so far, a return to the world number one spot may be next on the agenda for Trump.
2023 WUHAN OPEN DRAW
Round of 128 (bo9)
(held over fixtures)
Xing Zihao w/o Luca Brecel
Daniel Womersley 3-5 Gong Chenzhi
Si Jiahui 5-2 Wang Xinzhong
Ali Carter 5-2 Bai Yulu
Anthony Hamilton 5-0 Wang Xinbo
Zhou Yuelong 5-2 Baipat Siripaporn
Ding Junhui 5-3 Ashley Hugill
Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-1 Ken Doherty
Round of 64 (bo9)
Xing Zihao 5-4 Michael White
Stephen Maguire 5-2 Joe O’Connor
Ryan Day 5-4 Jackson Page
Marco Fu 3-5 Wu Yize
Ben Woollaston 1-5 Aaron Hill
Martin O’Donnell 5-1 John Higgins
Jordan Brown 3-5 Gong Chenzhi
Elliot Slessor 2-5 He Guoqiang
Mark Selby 4-5 Xu Si
Rod Lawler 2-5 Xiao Guodong
Robert Milkins 5-4 Hammad Miah
Tom Ford 5-1 Cao Yupeng
Jamie Jones 5-4 Ian Burns
Sanderson Lam 2-5 Barry Hawkins
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 2-5 Matthew Selt
Oliver Lines 2-5 Judd Trump
Mark Allen 5-4 Mark Joyce
Si Jiahui 5-4 Jak Jones
Jack Lisowski 5-3 Scott Donaldson
Ishpreet Singh Chadha 2-5 Sam Craigie
Daniel Wells 1-5 Stuart Bingham
Jamie Clarke 1-5 Ali Carter
Anthony Hamilton 0-5 Zhou Yuelong
Liam Highfield 5-3 Neil Robertson
Ben Mertens 5-1 Dominic Dale
Chris Wakelin 2-5 Lyu Haotian
Zhang Anda w/o Mark Williams
Noppon Saengkham w/o Graeme Dott
Alfie Burden 3-5 Ashley Carty
Yuan Sijun 5-0 Ding Junhui
Pang Junxu 5-3 Stuart Carrington
Mark Davis 1-5 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Round of 32 (bo9)
Xing Zihao 1-5 Stephen Maguire
Ryan Day 2-5 Wu Yize
Aaron Hill 5-1 Martin O’Donnell
Gong Chenzhi 4-5 He Guoqiang
Xu Si 0-5 Xiao Guodong
Robert Milkins 2-5 Tom Ford
Jamie Jones 1-5 Barry Hawkins
Matthew Selt 0-5 Judd Trump
Mark Allen 5-4 Si Jiahui
Jack Lisowski 5-4 Sam Craigie
Stuart Bingham 4-5 Ali Carter
Zhou Yuelong 3-5 Liam Highfield
Ben Mertens 1-5 Lyu Haotian
Zhang Anda 5-1 Noppon Saengkham
Ashley Carty 2-5 Yuan Sijun
Pang Junxu 4-5 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Round of 16 (bo9)
Stephen Maguire 4-5 Wu Yize
Aaron Hill 5-3 He Guoqiang
Xiao Guodong 4-5 Tom Ford
Barry Hawkins 2-5 Judd Trump
Mark Allen 5-2 Jack Lisowski
Ali Carter 5-1 Liam Highfield
Lyu Haotian 5-2 Zhang Anda
Yuan Sijun 1-5 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Wu Yize 5-4 Aaron Hill
Tom Ford 0-5 Judd Trump
Mark Allen 2-5 Ali Carter
Lyu Haotian 5-1 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Wu Yize 1-6 Judd Trump
Ali Carter 6-2 Lyu Haotian
Judd Trump 10-7 Ali Carter
Featured photo credit: WST