The International Championship winner will be crowned on Sunday when the world champion Judd Trump takes on a former champion at the Crucible Theatre in Shaun Murphy in what should be a wonderful final out in China.
Both men have played exceptionally well to make it to this stage of the tournament and if they have that form with them in this final, then we should we treated to something special from two very talented players.
I thought there was an air of fortune about Shaun Murphy’s run to the semi-final but he ended any doubts that I had about his performance this week when he demolished Mark Allen in the semi-final. The end score was 9-6 but the job was done early on when Murphy led 6-1. Although Allen fought hard in the defence of his title, Murphy always had him far enough away for comfort and did not relent at any stage.
Murphy scored well in the very early stages of that last four clash and if he is going to have any chance here he is going to need all of his scoring power. He will have to tighten up in his safety play as well because Trump is on fire at the minute. I would imagine Murphy will think he has done the bulk of his job this week and can go into this final with a bit of a free attitude which might just benefit him.
The world champion has picked up where he left off in Sheffield in May, completely dominating this tournament and looking like the winner in waiting. The seven frame burst that he put together to see off Mark Selby in the semi-final was blistering and should act as a warning sign not just for Shaun Murphy in this final but also the rest of the tour for the season ahead. The penny looks to have really dropped for Trump.
You get the feeling that if Trump wins this final we could be in for a period of dominance from the man who many have dubbed as one of the most talented players to pick up a cue for a while. We know all about the scoring potential of Trump but the safety play he has displayed this week has been a real feature of his play.
These two have met on 30 past occasions and it is Judd Trump who has had the better of those previous meetings. He has won 21 times and lost just the nine matches but when you think he has 12 more wins than Murphy, he only has 20 more frames than him at 108-88 which suggests that a number of Trump’s wins have been narrow ones, something that could give Murphy some hope here. Murphy won their last meeting and he has also won their only previous final, in Gibraltar a couple of years ago.
I’m expecting a decent final here between two of the better players in the game to watch. I can’t be going against Trump here but to be fair Murphy has been proving me wrong all week so it probably isn’t wise to take him on again, especially with the handicaps being a little bigger and the prices on the stingy side.
I do think we are going to see a lot of open frames though and in these excellent scoring conditions that can mean over 12.5 50+ breaks in this final. It is first to 10 so you would think we are going to get 15 or 16 frames at the very least which means there is room for a couple of scrappy frames. That isn’t the style these two relish though so I’m expecting the big breaks to flow in the final match of what has been a good week.
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