Judd Trump aims to secure his fourth major title of 2019 at the International Championship by denying a resurgent Shaun Murphy in Sunday’s Daqing decider.
Trump’s incredible year shows no sign of slowing down as he bids to mark a perfect start to the season in his first tournament since becoming World Champion in early May.
His exploits this week have already secured him the world number one spot for the first time since 2013 regardless of Sunday’s result, but ‘The Ace’ will be determined to get the job done and clinch a twelfth ranking title.
Winner of The Masters and the World Grand Prix prior to his landmark Crucible triumph, Trump has coasted into his first International Championship final since 2012 – when he defeated Neil Robertson 10-8 in Chengdu to become the inaugural winner of this prestigious title.
After seeing off Jordan Brown, Zhang Anda and Scott Donaldson in the early rounds, Trump then breezed past Tom Ford in the Quarter-Finals before thrashing two-time champion Mark Selby 9-4 thanks to a run of seven consecutive frames.
Trump has piled in ten century breaks along the way, including a 141 in his First Round win – the joint highest of the tournament so far.
Murphy, meanwhile, is aiming to secure his first ranking silverware for two years and has made a promising start to the season after a below-par 2018/19 by his standards.
The 2005 World Champion, however, has lost his last five consecutive ranking finals, including the 2017 UK Championship and 2018 Players Championship, and knows he must raise his game if he is to halt the sport’s current man of the moment.
The 37-year-old had previously failed to surpass the Last 16 stage of any event this year, but kick-started his run with narrow wins over Chinese duo Yuan Sijun and Yan Bingtao.
Murphy then edged out fellow former World Champions Neil Robertson and Graeme Dott before dethroning reigning champion Mark Allen with a 9-6 victory in the Semi-Finals.
Murphy has lost nine of his 16 previous meetings with Trump but did prevail in their most recent encounter at the 2018 Scottish Open.
The final gets underway from 7.30am BST on Sunday for a total of nine frames, resuming to a finish from 12.30pm.
Trump: “It is very pleasing to get off to a good start after quite a long break. I’ve had three months with no tournaments and even though I’ve practised I still wasn’t match sharp.
“After winning the World Championship it is very easy to get into bad habits.
“Everyone wants to beat you as well so they are going to be raising their games.”
Murphy: “I’ve got the World Champion and world number one next, who must be floating on air at the moment.
“I remember being World Champion myself, although it was a long time ago, you just feel completely invincible. I have to try to find a way.
“If I play like I did in the first half of today’s [Saturday’s] game I will be in with a chance. But I will have to bring my A game.”