The final of the Welsh Open will be played out in Newport on Sunday and we are always guaranteed a new name on the Ray Reardon Trophy as Judd Trump and Joe Perry battle it out to win the last Home Nations event of the season for the first time.
Trump will go into the final as a warm favourite to win his second title of the season but Perry has lifted silverware in the past and will know an opportunity like this won’t come around too often so he is likely to be hugely motivated in this final.
I think it is fair to say that Judd Trump hasn’t been anywhere near his best this week but he has made it through to the final and has the chance to improve. If he can show his best form then you would imagine he will win here and the fact he has won a dozen titles over the last couple of years will give him all the belief he needs to win the title which is played the closest to his home. Whether the location adds any pressure to him only he will know.
Trump stuttered throughout his semi-final but like all champions do, when Hossein Vafaei moved 5-3 up on him he found his best stuff and got over the line in a deciding frame. That was probably his biggest challenge of the week so far because a couple of previous opponents didn’t really turn up against him. Trump will know this is ultimately about winning the title but I think he would rather play his best snooker than just fall over the line.
Although he was nowhere near his best in the semi-final, I still think Joe Perry has been the best player this week and if that counts for anything then he will win this final and lift his first title in the UK. His previous tournament win came in Thailand so this will mean a whole lot more to him if he is able to achieve it. It will also protect his ranking and ensure his tour status is safe come the end of next season, which was not the case when he arrived in Wales at the beginning of the week.
Perry fell over the line in his semi-final against Jack Lisowski, having seen his opponent come from 3-0 and 5-3 down to force a decider. Afterwards the veteran admitted he had felt rough with a headache throughout the match so we probably shouldn’t take notice of the standard of that match but rather remember his form in beating Cao Yupeng, Mark Allen, Kyren Wilson and Ricky Walden earlier in the competition.
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Head to head
These two men have met on 12 previous occasions with Trump coming out on top in nine of those matches and Perry just three. Trump has a pretty sizable advantage in the frame count too where he leads 51-36. This will be the first time they have played in a final and the first time they have met in a match with more than one session in it. One bit of history which is on the side of Perry is that he won their only Welsh Open meeting which came six years ago.
This should be a decent final because both these players are accustomed to playing in big matches. Trump has won the biggest tournaments in the game while Joe Perry has competed in a final of The Masters so the occasion shouldn’t get to either of them which should make the level pretty high. I’m a little surprised Perry is being written off as much as he is though and him to cover a 3.5 frame handicap is the bet I like most in this final.
Perry was a scoring machine earlier in the week and although he didn’t score well against Lisowski in the semi-final, he has explained why that is the case. If he had a proper illness I probably wouldn’t be as confident in him but you would think he can shift a headache by the time this final starts. Trump has come through the draw here but his form hasn’t looked any different to earlier in the season where he has struggled to win matches, and more often than not when he has won them they have been tight. I think Perry is playing well enough to get to six frames here even if he doesn’t get all the way to nine.
Back J.Perry (+3.5 frames) to beat J.Trump for a 3/10 stake at 2.20 with William Hill
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