An excellent week of snooker inside the Centaur Building at the Cheltenham Racecourse concludes on Sunday when Ali Carter takes on Judd Trump in the final of the World Grand Prix, the opening leg of the Coral Snooker Series.
£100,000 is up for grabs for the winner of the match which will be the first one to win 10 frames in the two-session finale and that is a sum of cash that will get Carter into all the big events for the remainder of the season so this is a big day for him. Trump goes in search of a third title of the season so this is nicely poised.
I always attribute Ali Carter down as being a big tournament, big match player and he admitted as much himself at the beginning of the week. He confessed that he struggles to get up for some of the tournaments that involve playing matches away from the bright lights and TV cameras. He certainly doesn’t have to do that here and he has taken full advantage of that fact.
Carter has looked decent enough all week in the main. He had one indifferent match against Mark Allen in the second round when the table conspired to make them look like club amateurs but either side of that he has been very good. In the last two rounds he has taken care of Dave Gilbert and Xiao Guodong for the loss of just one frame which is good going at any time.
Having already won the Northern Ireland Open and The Masters, Judd Trump will go looking for a third title this season in this final. He has now shot out as the best player in the world at the present time and those previous successes are likely to stand him in good stead here. Not only do they give him the confidence but he will draw so much belief from them as well.
Trump has made the final here but I don’t think we’ve seen his vintage best. We saw something close to it when he destroyed Mark Selby in the quarter final but either side of that he has had to come through a couple of deciding frames and rely on opponents letting him in. He’s in the final now though and if The Masters is anything to go by, we could see his best performance of the week now he is here.
Head to Head
These two have played 21 times in all competitions with Trump only holding an 11-10 lead over Carter although his wins do tend to come a little more comfortably as evidenced by the fact that The Masters champion has a 63-53 advantage in their frames won. In actual ranking events, Carter has the edge. He leads 4-2 with one of his wins coming in their biggest match in the World Championship in 2012. Carter won that 13-12 and these two generally deliver close matches in ranking tournaments.
I think we are going to see a good and tight final here. This is the sort of occasion Ali Carter relishes and I don’t think he will fail to turn up here. I think he’ll take the match to Judd Trump and we could well see the former world finalist’s best snooker this week, which is saying something because he has played pretty well to make it this far already.
I don’t think Trump is going to back down either but I do think he’s a good opponent for Carter because the Captain will keep at long distance throughout. Trump will get in and dish up from time to time and Carter will have frames mopping up errors. I expect this final to be close throughout it and the 6/5 on over 16.5 frames will do me nicely for Sunday.
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