The two most naturally gifted players in world snooker collide in a major televised final for the third time this season as Ronnie O’Sullivan and rival Judd Trump vie for Grand Prix glory on Sunday.
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The duo remain arguably the two biggest box office attractions in the modern game, and if their most recent meetings are anything to go by, another classic final could be on the cards.
O’Sullivan has enjoyed the upper-hand in the last four meetings between the pair, including 10-7 victory in last November’s Champion of Champions final – a contest which featured six century breaks.
The Rocket then repeated the dose a month later in the UK Championship final, fending off a terrific fightback from the young left-hander to edge a 10-9 triumph.
This week, however, it has been Trump who has performed the better of the two en route to the final, and the Bristolian will be quietly confident of gaining revenge on his recent nemesis.
Trump has seen off Joe Perry, Mark Williams and Martin Gould to reach his first final of 2015, notably staging a sensational recovery from 5-1 down to prevail 6-5 in Saturday’s Semi-Finals.
The Australian Open Champion has been prolific in the break-building department, while also demonstrating some much improved safety play to give him a deadly all-round game.
Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan’s demeanour on and off the table has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, but the Chigwell great looks to let his cue do the talking once again today.
O’Sullivan is yet to lift a title since December’s UK triumph in York, but looks to blast back to winning ways and become the first name on this new invitational trophy.
Despite admitting to not being at the top of his game, O’Sullivan has dropped just three frames en route to the final – seeing off Rod Lawler, Graeme Dott and Stuart Bingham.
Of their 14 previous meetings in total, O’Sullivan has prevailed on eight occasions, with Trump’s last success coming at the 2012 Masters.
The match gets underway at 1pm GMT for a total of nine frames, and will be played to a conclusion from 7pm over the best of 19 frames at the Venue Cymru in Llandudno, Wales.
O’Sullivan looks on against Trump at the Crucible in 2013 (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
O’Sullivan: “I hope I can perform well enough to give Judd a game and it should be a great final. I don’t see a rivalry, it’s just good fun.
“I played better at the German Masters and lost in the quarters. I’ve played worse here and I’m in the final, it’s a strange one.”
Trump: “I’m not playing anyway near how I did at the start of the season, but I’ve been working on my safety – I still need to improve a lot and tomorrow’s another day.”
“It would be nice to get revenge on Ronnie, but it’s going to be a tough game and I’ll just go out and enjoy it.”
Both Trump and O’Sullivan are renowned for their unrivalled attacking styles, and after compiling nine centuries between them in the last two meetings, expect more one-visit snooker here.
O’Sullivan is the first to admit has under-performed this week, but looks to have multiple gears in the locker and could have his top form ready to unleash on the youngster once again.
On current form and as recent meetings would suggest, neither player should run away with this final, and Trump will fancy his chances of springing a surprise on ‘The Rocket,’ if not running him very close.
Our top three betting tips:
- Trump +2.5 frames handicap @ 4/5 with Stan James
- Over 2.5 total match centuries @ 10/11 with Bet365
- Over 16.5 total frames @ 19/20 with Coral
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