World Snooker Championship: Judd Trump makes emphatic start, while Mark Williams also makes progress

World Snooker Championship: Judd Trump makes emphatic start, while Mark Williams also makes progress

April 22, 2021

Judd Trump confirmed his status as world No 1 for the start of next season after sweeping into the second round of the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

Trump turned a 7-2 overnight advantage into a 10-4 triumph over qualifier Liam Highfield, guaranteeing that he will finish another campaign at the top of the rankings, and booking him a last-16 clash against former semi-finalist David Gilbert.

The 31-year-old praised the transformation under outgoing World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn and said the onus was now on players to continue Hearn’s work and help lift their sport to a whole new level of popularity.

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  • O’Sullivan: Winning world championship an anticlimax

Trump said: “Barry got us back on the straight and narrow and he’s kind of told everyone to spread their wings and fly away now. It’s up to us to do the job of making snooker bigger – there’s only so much he can do off the table and the players need to take that responsibility.

“I came in when there were six tournaments for the first three or four years. There were barely any tournaments to play and I hardly felt like a professional at all. Having to go through those three or four years made me appreciate it when all those tournaments did come along.”

If Trump himself has distanced himself from the notion that he could one day match Stephen Hendry’s record of seven Crucible titles, he is convinced a new star will arrive to beat that mark – with only Ronnie O’Sullivan’s five-minute maximum break in 1997, in his opinion, remaining untouchable.

“For me there’s only one record that will never be broken and that’s Ronnie’s maximum time, and that’s partly because the referees move a lot slower nowadays and they don’t have the speed of the likes of (former referee) John Williams.

“They take their time picking the balls out so I don’t think it’s even possible. But every other record will be broken. Hopefully in my lifetime, someone will come along and I can’t wait to see that person and hopefully he will come along while I’m still on the tour.”

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  • Ronnie O’Sullivan: Genius of the baize

Welshman Mark Williams cruised into the second round of the World Snooker Championship with a 10-4 victory over qualifier Sam Craigie.

The three-time former champion reeled off five consecutive frames upon the evening’s resumption to turn a 5-4 advantage at the end of the morning session into a 10-4 rout, and book a second-round meeting with his old rival John Higgins.

Williams and Higgins are from the famed Class of ’92, alongside Ronnie O’Sullivan.

After his win, Williams blasted a bid to ban his controversial break-off technique by the WPBSA Players’ Association, saying: “There’s a lot more going on in the world to worry about my poxy break-off. Haven’t they got anything better to do than send emails out asking players if they like it and should it get banned?

“I’ll think of another break-off. Why don’t I just smash it into the pack and leave all the reds on for everyone – would they be happy with that?

“If they ban the break-off they’ve got to ban rolling up behind baulk colours and rolling up behind the black. It’s not an illegal shot and I don’t see the problem with it, it’s farcical.”

Breaks of 76, 126 and 82 saw Barry Hawkins reel off the three frames required to see off Matt Selt 10-3.

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