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Judd Trump denies rival Ronnie O’Sullivan to claim Northern Ireland Open title

Jamie Shaw in Home Nations Series

Trump returns to the winner’s circle (credit:Eurosport)

Judd Trump defeated his nemesis Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-7 to claim the 2018 Northern Ireland Open title in Belfast on Sunday.

Trump, 29, ended a 13-month wait for televised silverware as he clinched the Alex Higgins Trophy and the ninth ranking title of his career.

The two box office stars were locked level at four apiece following the first session of the final, before Trump reeled off three consecutive frames from 7-6 down to seal glory.

“It feels amazing – it’s so nice to win again,” Trump told Eurosport.

“I was very nervous in that last frame as it’s a while since I’ve done anything and I’ve had a bit of stick for underachieving.

“I got chances in the last few frames and just tried to hold myself together, I’ve always believed in myself but luck has not been with me.

“I wasn’t looking forward to this tournament after going out in the first round last year but the support I’ve felt this week has been unbelievable.”

Trump overturned a 64-point deficit to snatch the first frame before O’Sullivan produced breaks of 69 and 65 to move in front.

Trump then turned only the style with successive centuries (105 and 117) to edge back in front, and after O’Sullivan replied with a 58 to restore parity, the left-hander added a stunning 108 to make it 4-3.

O’Sullivan, the recent Champion of Champions winner, responded with a 58 to make it all-square at the halfway stage, and returned with a 61 after the restart to go back in front.

Trump battled his way to the tenth frame before making a half century (51) in the next to continue the topsy-turvy nature of the contest.

The lead changed hands once again as O’Sullivan levelled with a break of 78 before crashing in a sensational 34 clearance in the following frame to make it 7-6.

But ‘The Rocket’ failed to press on towards the winning line, with Trump replying with a 54 break before dominating frame 15 to move within one of victory.

The former UK Champion denied O’Sullivan any clear cut chance to force a decider as he compiled a superb break of 79 to secure the title.

O’Sullivan admitted: “Judd deserved to win, he was the better player on the day, he’s been fantastic to watch.

“I was just pleased to be involved and make it competitive.”