Judd Trump
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Judd Trump – ‘it was the right thing to do’

Judd Trump returned to competitive snooker after a brief break with a first-round victory at the Johnstone’s Paint Players Championship on Monday in Telford.

The Englishman recovered from a slow start to see off the challenge of Chris Wakelin with a 6-2 triumph.

Wakelin, who had sneaked into the competition in the last qualifying position from the one-year rankings list, got off to a perfect start by compiling an excellent break of 120.

But Trump slowly seized control of the contest, returning from the mid-session interval in which the scores were level to take the final four frames.

The 34 year-old eventually found his groove towards the end of the affair, compiling breaks of 67 and 139 to seal his berth in the last eight.

“It was scrappy the first few frames,” Judd Trump, a winner of four ranking titles already this season, told the World Snooker Tour.

“I felt a little bit rusty with the time off. But in the end, after it went 3-2, I felt a lot more comfortable and produced some good snooker towards the end.”

“A good break in the last frame. A good shot to get in and split the pack early on, and I sort of felt a little bit quicker in the balls and back to full flow.

“It’s difficult for me to say (if I’m close to my best). But if you just look at the achievements over the past season, it’s going to be somewhere close.

“I’d like to think I’ve improved a little bit from the other good seasons, but it has been amazing either way you look at it.”

Trump has already reached the final of seven events this season – picking up the silverware at the English, Wuhan, and Northern Ireland Opens before adding the German Masters crown earlier this month.

Following his success in Berlin, the world number two made the decision to skip the Welsh Open as he turns his attention to the bigger prizes on offer later in this campaign.

“I’m someone that’s never really ever missed tournaments, so it was a little bit different for me.”

“It was tough, on the back of a win, to not play the next week. But I just felt it was the right thing to do, just to pace myself.

“A couple of times in the past, when I’ve had amazing seasons, I’ve kind of just run out of steam at the end, so hopefully this will be the trick this time.”

Elsewhere on day one at the Telford International Centre, John Higgins edged Ding Junhui 6-4 in a high-scoring battle.

The pair exchanged two century breaks apiece, but it was Higgins who finished the stronger – the Scot winning four out of the last five frames to progress.

On Tuesday, the round of 16 continues with four more matches.

Sunday’s Welsh Open champion Gary Wilson returns to action in the afternoon session, with the Tyneside Terror entertaining Hossein Vafaei.

There is also an intriguing battle of the Marks between Allen and Williams at the same time.

Later, world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan enters the fray against Zhou Yuelong, while Ali Carter is challenged by Tom Ford.


2024 Players Championship draw

Round of 16 (bo11)

Judd Trump 6-2 Chris Wakelin
Tom Ford 2-6 Ali Carter

Mark Williams 3-6 Mark Allen
Gary Wilson 6-4 Hossein Vafaei

Zhang Anda 6-5 Noppon Saengkham
Ding Junhui 4-6 John Higgins

Barry Hawkins 3-6 Mark Selby
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 Zhou Yuelong

Quarter-Finals (bo11)

Judd Trump 4-6 Ali Carter
Mark Allen 6-4 Gary Wilson

Zhang Anda 6-4 John Higgins
Mark Selby 6-0 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Semi-Finals (bo11)

Ali Carter 3-6 Mark Allen
Zhang Anda 6-5 Mark Selby

Final (bo19)

Mark Allen 10-8 Zhang Anda


Featured photo credit: WST

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