The first ranking event of the snooker season will be won on Sunday when the World Grand Prix final takes place inside the Morningside Arena in Leicester as Judd Trump goes up against Ronnie O’Sullivan in a cracking title match.
These two have been the players of the season so far and generally when they meet we get a great match with plenty of fireworks and with the way they have played this week it would be daft to think we get anything different here.
Judd Trump came into the week as the number one seed after three titles in the first part of the season and to be fair to him he has shown why that was the case this week with his play. Trump was visibly disappointed to lose in the quarter final at The Masters last week but he has a decent record in this tournament and he is well on his way to extending that. He has made the final for the loss of just five frames and generally gets better the longer he is in a tournament.
You could argue that the only significant player that Trump has played this week was Mark Selby and he didn’t really turn up against him but that would be harsh because the English Open, Wuhan Open and Northern Ireland Open winner has played some nice stuff, even if the scoresheet hasn’t been as flashy as it sometimes is in terms of the breaks he has made. You get the feeling Trump is waiting to be tested and then he’ll go up a gear. He might get his wish here.
For a second Sunday in a row, Ronnie O’Sullivan will be competing in a major final here. He won The Masters a week ago and now he will go in search of a second ranking event title in as many months after he landed the UK Championship to round off 2023. When you consider O’Sullivan has also landed the Shanghai Masters this season too it is clear that he has a rhythm of playing in big finals in recent times, and not just playing in them but winning them as well.
At the start of the week we didn’t really know which Ronnie O’Sullivan would turn up but it was quickly apparent that it was the one which means business. You could argue that Zhou Yuelong should have got rid of him but the way O’Sullivan played in the semi-final against Ding Junhui was probably the best snooker most judges have ever seen and if he can continue that one day later he is going to be very impossible to beat.
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These two fine cueists have meet on 28 previous occasions and it is Ronnie O’Sullivan who has a narrow edge with 15 wins to the 13 of Trump. O’Sullivan is slightly more ahead in the frame count though with a 185-172 advantage which suggests his wins are a little more comfortable. This will be number 13 in terms of the finals they have faced each other in with Trump 7-5 ahead in the previous 12 but O’Sullivan has won the most recent two. O’Sullivan leads 5-2 in their meetings over the best of 19 frames but at this competition it is 2-0 to Trump in their past battles.
I do think we are going to see a number of centuries in this final but at the same time with the way he played in the semi-final and at times last week there is a chance we could see a blowout in favour of Ronnie O’Sullivan here so rather than take the match centuries I’ll side with the O’Sullivan line and if Trump happens to contribute to the number then so be it but if he wins the final I would expect three tons from O’Sullivan in this one.
O’Sullivan has hit a century in every match in this tournament and made four of them in his semi-final win over Ding Junhui. In the UK Championship final he didn’t play great but made two tons in the last three frames to win and against Trump he has made three tons in the last two wins he has had over this distance and three times in all. O’Sullivan looks to have his long game in fantastic order and we know he’ll always score so the 11/10 that he knocks in three tons here will do me.
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