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Bond Leaves Trump Shaken And Stirred

Judd Trump’s hopes of winning all three Triple Crown events in 2019 were dashed as he suffered a surprise 6-3 defeat against veteran Nigel Bond in the last 32 of the Betway UK Championship.

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Trump won the Masters and World Championship earlier this year and had hoped to become the only player other than Stephen Hendry to complete snooker’s Holy Trinity  in the same year. But in the biggest shock of the season so far, he was beaten by a 54-year-old who had not previously reached the last 16 of a ranking event since February 2018.

Chesterfield’s Bond, who won the British Open back in 1996, goes through to face Joe Perry or Gary Wilson in the fourth round in York.

World number one Trump, who has won seven tournaments within the past 13 months, started strongly as breaks of 52, 114 and 90 gave him a 3-1 lead. But the momentum turned after the interval as world number 98 Bond took four frames in a row with top breaks of 114 and 85 to lead 5-3.

Frame nine lasted 45 minutes and came down to a safety battle on the pink. Bond missed several tough long pots but eventually slotted the pink into a top corner to seal victory.

“It’s my biggest win for a while,” said Bond, who reached the World Championship final in 1995. “I’m over the moon to have shown people that I can still play at 54. Even at 3-1 down I felt good. Judd wasn’t on top of his game and missed a few balls which helped me.

“My game is still good but I haven’t been scoring heavily and you can’t win matches with 30 breaks. It was great to score well today. I was nervous at the end but Judd probably felt the same. Snooker is just one man against another out there. If you play well and put pressure on your opponent, he will feel it, whether he’s number one or number 128.”

Trump said: “Nigel played well. It was one of those games where I can’t really put my finger on why I lost. On another day the balls would have landed for me in the last frame and I’d have come back and won. You can see Nigel works hard and I hope I can still play that well at that age.

“If I’d have gone out and missed loads of balls then I would have been disappointed, but I’ve practised hard and put the work in, I’m bound to lose matches. I’ve done well so far this season so I won’t let this get me down. It will just inspire me to go away and work harder.”

Robertson Topples King

Neil Robertson remained in the hunt for a third UK title since 2013 as he came through a tough battle against Mark King by a 6-4 scoreline.

Robertson led 4-2 with top breaks of 54, 105, 72 and 52 but King showed trademark determination as he won two of the next three to trail 5-4. King led 54-0 in frame ten before Robertson replied with a run of 63. That set up a safety battle on the blue and Robertson trapped his opponent in a tough snooker, and from the chance that followed he wrapped up the match.

“It was difficult to keep my focus towards the end because the crowd were into the game with Judd and Nigel,” said Robertson. “I’m pleased for Nigel to have a moment like that at his age. And it’s nice of Judd to let someone else win a trophy! It doesn’t affect me that much because I’m in the other half of the draw.

“I played well and there’s more to come. I’m making minor improvements in each round. If I can get on a roll then I can steam-roller people.”

Former World Champion Stuart Bingham saw off Zhao Xintong 6-1 with a top break of 127. China’s Li Hang beat Marco Fu 6-4 in a high quality match which featured breaks of 75, 131, 131 and 87 from Li and 104, 110 and 74 from Fu.