Judd Trump beats Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final of the Northern Ireland Open

Judd Trump
Judd Trump

Judd Trump is the new Northern Ireland champion after beating Ronnie O'Sullivan 9-7 in the final in Belfast.

Trump has been on the sharp end of some harsh criticism in recent weeks but ran out an ultimately deserving winner having played wonderfully well all week.

Victories over the likes Jack Lisowski and Ryan Day earlier in the tournament suggested Trump was returning to something like his best form and he proved too strong for O'Sullivan despite the pair enjoying a hard-fought battle for much of the day.

O'Sullivan had edged in front when producing a magnificent clearance of 134 in frame 13 but at 7-6 down, Trump produced some nerveless snooker to win three frames on the bounce, the last with a brilliant attacking break of 79 that sealed an emotional victory.

Earlier in the day, O'Sullivan had started the brighter with a break of 64 but Trump managed to pinch that opening frame in a sign of things to come.

O'Sullivan responded with breaks of 65 and 69 to quickly open up a 2-1 lead but Trump ensured the scores were level at 2-2 heading into the mid-session interval thanks to a fabulous break of 105.

A second century of the match for Trump followed immediately upon the resumption, this time 117, and despite O'Sullivan levelling up again at 3-3 with a well-taken run of 58, Trump knocked in his third hundred break of the match when stroking in a flawless 108 in frame seven.

Trump looked set to lead 5-3 when well set in the eighth frame but when he broke down, O'Sullivan pounced with a break of 58 to make it 4-4 and set up yet another grandstand finish in the evening session.

O'Sullivan began that session with a break of 61 to inch into a 5-4 lead but will live to regret having let frame 10 slip out of his grasp when he seemed certain to go two clear.

Trump kept his composure to win that close frame before finding himself in front at 6-5 thanks to a run of 61.

O'Sullivan went to the break level again at 6-6 following a typically flawless contribution of 78 and would have fancied his chances when leading 7-6 having knocked in a fabulous 134, his first century of the match.

Trump wasn't to be denied, though, shutting O'Sullivan out with some solid safety play and bold potting before shedding a tear at the conclusion of a match that might just signal the second coming of one of the sports' brightest stars.

An emotional Trump told Eurosport: "I think that's my best win.

"After the year I've had and the criticism from other people, it feels nice to go out there and play like that.

"It's nice to shut them up for a bit.

"Everyone was in the tournament, I had no easy draws and to beat Ronnie in the final is extra special.

"I've been feeling very sharp and this week it all came together. Hopefully this can give me the confidence to carry on."


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