What a difference twelve months can make.
This time last year he left the ‘Ally Pally’ despondent after painfully relinquishing a 5-2 lead against Kyren Wilson during what was his third Masters semi-final disappointment. Since then Trump has faced criticism from several quarters, some debating his dedication, focus and lack of positive results in the sport’s biggest competitions.
However, he ended a thirteen-month wait for a title of any description when he secured the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast in November – getting the better of O’Sullivan in the final there, too.
He may have been upset at losing in the last 16 of the UK Championship to Joe Perry, but Trump came to London in very good form. Before Christmas he qualified for the German Masters, making the 146thprofessional 147 break in the process, and he also won a group at Championship League Snooker in Coventry in the new year.
Ironically, his opening assignment at the palace was with ‘close rival’ Wilson, whom he had a poor record against in big stage tournaments. Trump bucked the trend, though, winning 6-2 to perhaps silence those who felt he had slipped down the pecking order behind Wilson.
A polished 6-2 defeat of a potentially re-surgent Mark Selby in the quarters followed, and whilst he and Neil Robertson exchanged unforced errors in their semi-final clash, Trump maintained composure to come through 6-4. Throughout the week, whether deliberate or not, Trump remained disciplined and successful in his shot selection and approach.
Defeating O’Sullivan on such a stage is a huge landmark in Trump’s career – he joins a select club who have managed to overhaul arguably the greatest player ever in a triple crown final.
With two of the sport’s biggest three championships now on his CV, he will head to the Crucible in the Spring looking to complete snooker’s holy trinity. After his mature showing last week, he will surely fancy his chances.
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