Judd Trump, snooker’s most powerful force, finished 2020 in perfect fashion by beating Jack Lisowski 10-7 in the final of the matchroom World Grand Prix.
Trump becomes the sixth player in snooker history to win 20 ranking titles, joining Ronnie O’Sullivan (37), Stephen Hendry (36), John Higgins (30), Steve Davis (28) and Mark Williams (22).
Just two weeks ago, Trump suffered a painful 10-9 defeat against Neil Robertson in the final of the Betway UK Championship. Undeterred, he has bounced back in the perfect fashion by adding to an incredible winning streak which has seen him lift 13 trophies over the past 25 months.
Bristol’s 31-year-old Trump was playing against a close friend today, and was pushed hard as Lisowski showcased his own talent with a fantastic fight-back in the concluding session. But Trump’s self-belief under pressure is beyond doubt and he closed out the tournament to win his sixth ranking title of 2020.
The £100,000 top prize extends his vast lead at the top of the world rankings. He has three ranking titles under his belt already this season and has now won the World Grand Prix in 2015, 2019 and 2020.
Trump will enjoy a well earned rest over Christmas having won 24 of his last 26 matches over a 41-day spell. So impressive is his form and confidence that it is easy to see him achieving a similar level of success in 2021.
Gloucestershire’s 29-year-old Lisowski is still waiting for his first professional title, having now lost four ranking finals. The £40,000 runner-up prize lifts him one place up the ranking list to 14th. And the gifted left-hander can take pride in the way he put Trump on the ropes for much of the final session.
Trailing 6-2 after the first session, Lisowski could have taken the opening frame tonight, but ran out of position on a break of 53. When he missed a long red, Trump pounced with a 66 clearance to extend his lead.
Undeterred, Lisowski stormed back with breaks of 99, 122, 87 and 95 to close to 7-6. In frame 14, Lisowski led 53-5 when he missed a tricky red to a top corner, and Trump regained the initiative with a brilliant 57 clearance.
Lisowski made a 53 in frame 15 as he closed the gap again. Early in the 16th, Trump trapped his opponent in a tough snooker behind the green, and from the chance that followed he made a superb 78 to go 9-7 ahead.
Leading 61-0 in frame 17, Lisowski missed a tricky red to a top corner, and Trump replied with 39 before running out of position on the last red. A safety exchange went Trump’s way, and he coolly cleared the table for victory.
“It was an extremely good game, Jack made it very hard for me,” said Trump. “He played some of the best snooker I have ever seen, everything he looked at was going in. I had to make a couple of really good clearances. The clearance to go 8-6 was massive because I didn’t want him to get back level.
“I had to stay patient tonight and capitalise on the tiny mistakes he made. I’m proud of the way I held myself together and barely missed a ball. That shows the level I had to play to because I still lost the session 5-4. If he keeps playing like that I have no doubt he will be in the top five in the world in no time.
“This is the best start I have ever made to a season and there isn’t much I can improve on. I just have to keep trying to play to this level, keep up the hunger, the ambition and the enjoyment, then hopefully more success will come. When you are number one in the world you have to keep practising because everyone is chasing you, so you can’t let up. The only way to stay on top is to practise harder than everyone else.”
Lisowski said: “I upped my game tonight and put him under pressure, I was on a roll. But I lost a couple of frames from 50 or 60 ahead. The clearance he made to go 8-6 was ridiculous. I’m please to have pushed the best player in the world and made him work for it. It has been an amazing week and my game is going in the right direction.”