The final of the Champion of Champions takes place inside the Ricoh Arena on Sunday when stablemates Judd Trump and Neil Robertson battle it out over the course of two sessions and the best of 19 frames for the title.
Both men had to come through tense and top quality semi-finals over the previous two evenings but they both appear in fine touch so we should be ready to set in for an absolutely great final between two of the best in the game.
Whatever happens in this final, Neil Robertson will not be able to say that he isn’t battle hardened. He has come through a couple of deciding frame epics in the group final and the semi-final and in Shaun Murphy and Ronnie O’Sullivan, he has seen off a couple of significant challenges along the way too. You don’t beat those sorts of players if you are not playing well and hitting the centre of the white.
If there has been a slight weakness for me with the Australian this week it has come in the form of his safety game, but when you pot from distance like he does who needs a safety game!? We know full well that Robertson is a player for the big occasion and while this might not be a ranking tournament, there aren’t many bigger days in the snooker calendar than this one, with a packed house and the one table the centre of attention.
The world champion had it pretty easy in his group earlier in the week but he was challenged strongly by Mark Allen in the semi-final on Saturday night. After leading 3-0, it would have been easy for Trump to panic when Allen fought back to lead 4-3, but he isn’t the number one in the world for no reason and regrouped to come through 6-4 and book his spot in this tantalising final as a result.
I mentioned going into that semi-final that Trump hasn’t looked his very best over the last couple of tournaments, but he has won one of them and is 10 frames away from winning another. I don’t think that he could have done that a couple of years ago so that is a sign of just how much work he has put into his game, and also how much belief and self-confidence he has about the standard he can produce.
These two have met on no fewer than 30 previous occasions and it is Trump who holds a narrow 16-14 lead in those matches. Robertson won their latest outing but that ended a run of three wins in succession for Trump. This will be the fourth time they have faced off in a final. Trump has a narrow advantage in that regard too, having won two of the three. That might be significant when we look back on this one at the end of the day. Overall matches between the two are generally close with just six frames between them overall, Trump winning 127 to the 121 of Robertson.
Generally the longer distance matches between these two end up pretty close it has to be said. They have played over the best of 19 frames twice in their careers and both have ended 10-8, which is around the score I would expect this one to be. Both players are in decent touch and both have come through battles this week. I really don’t see this being one-sided in any way because both can handle the pressure of being behind.
The frames line for this match is 16.5 which just looks a frame too low to me. Both have invested a lot into this tournament and will be eager to win the title so I’m expecting them to give their all here. Only one of the six previous finals in this competition have had less than 16.5 frames so what we’ve seen this week and what has gone before all suggests the over is the good thing here.
WON – Back Over 16.5 frames for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Boylesports
Back it here: