Judd Trump refused to lose his English Open epic against Neil Robertson and says a fear of finish line failure hauled him to a tenth consecutive win in ranking event finals, writes Will Jennings.
The 2019 king of the Crucible toppled Robertson in a 9-8 classic to become the first player to scoop a hat-trick of Home Nations Series triumphs.
And victory in the decider also drew the world No.1 level with Mark Selby on consecutive wins in major finals, one behind the great Stephen Hendry who stands tall on 11.
Trump held his nerve to make a bold final-frame century and says the agonising prospect of defeat holds the key to his remarkable run.
“It’s a great stat to have and when you get to the final, you don’t want to be losing them,” the 31-year-old said.
That was a tough battle!! @nr147 is such an incredible player it’s always an honour going head to head with him in a final. I’m absolutely thrilled to be the first person to win a third Home Nations event. And now...relax!#EnglishOpen #HomeNations #Snooker pic.twitter.com/GRzTWEHr75
— Judd trump (@judd147t) October 18, 2020
“I just refuse to lose - I didn’t want to lose so much and it’s a horrible feeling after you’ve done all the hard work.
“It’s just determination - I know how important it is to get over the line when you get in that final, and the sense of achievement.
“It’s such a big step from losing in the final to winning an event - it’s a completely different feeling. I just have to dig deep whenever I’m out there and I did that again today.
“It’s very important to keep that form going and the longer you can keep the run going then other people pay attention and falter at the winning line.
“It’s important for me to have that sense of belief that sometimes you can’t be beat, even when I was in trouble at 7-4 down."
The two heavyweights played out a Home Nations clash for the ages at the Marshall Arena and exchanged blow after blow in a see-saw affair.
Trump, chasing an 18th ranking event title, held a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval but a revitalised Robertson hit back as breaks of 75, 128 and 61 stunned Trump to reel him in.
The pair went into the break between the sessions at four frames apiece but Robertson, the world No.3, came out a man on a mission once more, striking visits of 56, 75 and a majestic 114 to place him just two frames from victory,
Trump showed all his steel, however, clinching the next three frames to restore parity before a 15th-frame break of 55 gave him an 8-7 lead.
A brilliant 125 from Robertson teed up a decider but Trump, who soared to a record-breaking six ranking event titles last term, held his nerve as a clutch 114 gave him a tenth successive win in a major final.
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) October 18, 2020
A slow start to the 15th frame saw Trump call for a re-rack, much to the surprise of Robertson who appeared in a difficult spot in the war of attrition.
Entertainer Trump says pleasing the fans is his priority and he’s hellbent on blazing a trail - both on and off the table.
“I just wanted to get on with it! I was bored myself - I’m someone that wants to give everyone entertainment and value for money, I don’t want everyone to be sat there turning over the channels,” he added.
“I want to entertain everyone, bring new people into snooker and make snooker as big as possible while I can, while I’m playing.
“It’s always nice when you get one out of the way early as you feel like you can win multiple events.
“Hopefully now I can kick on and try to cement that world No.1 place for as long as possible."