Judd Trump booked a spot into the Players’ Championship final courtesy of a win over Stephen Maguire. The world number one didn’t find it easy against Maguire though. It was a topsy-turvy encounter between the duo as Maguire proved to be such a hard nut to crack.
Trump started on the front foot and quickly established a strong lead after four frames with the scoreline at 3-1. However, his opponent assumed a resurgent form, turning the game on its head with four frames on the trot. With eight frames played, Trump was behind Maguire with the scores put at 3-5.
But it is in these kind of situations that Trump has shown character and strength in times past and this was not any different. The world champion stormed back into the game, winning three straight frames to secure the win. Juddernaut rounded a hard-fought win with a break of 70. He could easily have been swept aside by Maguire but was clinical in his approach, edging past his opponent in the most sensational manner. Indeed, he rated his break in the deciding frame as one of the best in his career.
After proceedings on the table, Trump had the following to say about the deciding frame: “It is definitely in the top five or top ten in any frame. It was under the utmost pressure, with what had happened before.”
The serial champion ironically said he was more relaxed in the deciding frame than he was in most parts of the game. He insisted however that the first couple of frames are the only exception. He stated that his opponent had him done and dusted in the eighth frame after he succumbed to a 5-3 lead. He said he managed to summon up an inner strength coupled with the morale that comes with world number one to make the last clearance and come out tops.
He said it has been tough mentally but it is something he has had to work on time and time again as he grew older in the game. He attests to the fact that he has been able to dig really deep when he is under pressure to give himself a fine chance.
The encounter was probably one of his very best because he found the mental strength to fight back rather than give up the way he would have earlier on in his career.
Written by: Roland Arum