China Open 2011: Advantage Trump

Well what a first session of snooker that was as Judd Trump finished with a two-frame lead, but could live to regret a missed opportunity to move four clear in the final frame as Mark Selby cleared for 5-3…

In his first career ranking event final it was always going to be interesting to see how Judd Trump began today’s match and he soon cast aside any early nerves with an excellent break of 104 to move into the lead. Mark Selby though was quick to respond, soon taking it with a clearance of 88 as it looked as though we might have a rapidfire final on our hands.

The second frame however was to prove more of a scrap and eventually it was Trump who took it after the best part of an hour before he took advantage of a couple of extraordinary flukes in frame four by becoming the 41st player to make 100 career century breaks to lead 3-1 at the break.

On their resumption Judd looked to continue where he missed off before a missed pink of 34 allowed Mark in to clear with 90 to close the gap to just one frame. Again in the next frame it was Selby who looked favourite to take the frame as the momentum began to shift, but following a poor safety from the provisional world number two, it was Judd’s turn to step in and take it with a clearance of 55 to the pink.

Having already looked patchy up until this point, Mark’s safety appeared to deteriorate further as the session progressed, while Judd looked to take confidence from that, soon making it 5-2 with just one frame of a shortened session to play.

That final frame however proved to be by far the most interesting and potentially, the most pivotal of the session. Continuing from where he left off in the last two it was Judd who looked favourite to take it with just a relatively straightforward frame ball red between him and a 6-2 lead heading into the final session. Surprisingly however, Judd was to miss this and with enough points on the table to take the frame, Mark duly stepped up to make a fabulous clearance and keep himself right in the match at 5-3. The break was far from straightforward with one red close to a side-cushion as well as  a difficult yellow with the rest, but Mark knew the importance of it and it will be very interesting to see how Judd reacts later having had a couple of hours to think about it…

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