It is the penultimate day of the World Championship inside the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield on Sunday and the day the final of the competition gets underway as the 2019 champion Judd Trump faces the six-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan.
These are two of the best box office stars in the modern game and two of the best players to watch in the world so we should be in for quite a conclusion to a brilliant tournament if both have their best stuff with them. 18 is the magic number needed for the title.
Day 15 Recap
We wanted drama to conclude the semi-finals and that is exactly what we got with the first one which went to a deciding frame after Mark Williams had completed a remarkable comeback to come from 7-1 down to lead 16-15. It was Judd Trump who then engineered a comeback of his own to win the last two to win 17-16. It was a little more straightforward for Ronnie O’Sullivan in the second semi-final as he took control of his match with John Higgins in the third session and never relented in running out a 17-11 winner.
It is impossible to say that Judd Trump has played his best snooker in this tournament. He has readily admitted himself that he hasn’t, but what he has done is fend off a couple of feisty comebacks from players are various times and that will provide him with a lot of confidence, knowing that he can deliver his best snooker when he is put under the most pressure. He certainly did that in his semi-final but we shouldn’t forget that he also made four centuries of his own along the way in that match.
This will be the third world final that Trump will compete in. He lost his first in 2011 and then won the title in 2019 with John Higgins his opponent on both occasions so he is no stranger to taking on a legend of the game on the biggest stage there is. Trump will need to get in from distance better in this final if he is going to have any chance. If it wasn’t for Williams struggling with conditions in the first session of their semi-final he would have won and O’Sullivan won’t start like the Welshman did.
Ronnie O’Sulilvan has breezed into this final. No player he has come up against has got within five frames of him and twice he has come from 3-0 down to power past opponents. Usually you would make the case for not having had a close match to be a negative but actually when you look through the history of the six world titles O’Sullivan has won, by and large he is untested from start to finish. In the six times he has won this title only six times has someone got within three frames of him and three of those came from the second round to the semi-final in 2020.
O’Sullivan has three times won this final 18-8 while his other wins have been 18-11, 18-12 and 18-14 so he tends to win this title because he is the best player at that time. That appears to be the case here. He is the world number one on the rankings and nobody has touched him in this tournament. His safety looks spot on, he’s scoring very well and his demeanour around the table has been a determined one. He definitely wants to equal the record of Stephen Hendry and win a seventh world title here.
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These two have played on 26 previous occasions and it couldn’t be any closer between them as they both have 13 wins each. O’Sullivan has a slight lead on the frame count 157 to 153 which suggests his wins are slightly more comfortable which would make sense. They have met on one occasion this season which O’Sullivan won at the Players Championship. That ended a run of five wins in six for Trump. This will be their second meeting at the Crucible Theatre. O’Sullivan won their previous one 17-11 in the 2013 semi-final. It will also be the 11th time they have met in a final. Trump surprisingly has a 7-3 lead in their previous 10. History can’t really split these great players.
History might not be able to separate these two but this is for Ronnie O’Sullivan to lose in my eyes. The only man to have beaten him in seven previous world finals is Mark Selby and he had to grind him down and unleash a barrage of the very best of what he does in the second day of the final to beat him. I don’t think Trump can play that way and over this distance he will either need to score exceptionally well, or play safety the likes I’m not sure he can play.
Trump can probably play with a bit of freedom in this match which might see his best snooker come out but O’Sullivan hasn’t achieved all that he has in the game without being able to handle some pressure. You sense this final will be won on the first day. Both are relentless frontrunners and I think O’Sullivan has the edge there because his semi-final was won before he finished it off in the final session. Trump went through all sorts of emotions in his semi-final and if he comes out here flat for any period O’Sullivan will speed away from him and won’t be for catching. Ronnie usually takes it up a notch in these finals and I think he wins this no worse than 18-16.
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