Neil Robertson denies Judd Trump in classic final to claim second Champion of Champions title
Neil Robertson edged out Judd Trump in an epic last-frame decider to clinch the Champion of Champions title for a second time in Coventry on Sunday.
Robertson, who initially triumphed at the Ricoh Arena in 2015, enjoyed a remarkable second success as he came through arguably the greatest final in the history of the event.
A breath-taking contest featured eight century breaks and a pivotal re-spotted black, but it was the Australian who held his nerve to wrap up the £150,000 top prize.
An emotional Robertson said: “It’s the best match I’ve ever been involved in.”
“Probably a lot of people here today would say it’s the best match they’ve ever seen, the standard overall was incredible.
“I dug in really deep to force a decider, but what a World Champion Judd has been, he’s really matured as a player and as a person.
“It think the standard was a great credit to both of us, we never backed down, we kept playing the shots and that’s the sort of snooker people want to see thesedays.
“This is one of the few occasions where you can genuinely say it is unfortunate to have a loser in the match.”
Trump was bidding for back-to-back televised titles following his success at the World Open in Yushan seven days ago, but saw his efforts fall agonisingly short.
The world number one admitted: “I’m not too disappointed.”
“It was good to play in, the standard was very good throughout.
“Neil scored the heavier tonight and I think overall he played the better snooker over the two sessions and deserved to win.
“I got outplayed. It’s always a joy playing Neil, he plays the game the right way, he gets on with it, similar to myself.”
Robertson began the first session brightly by establishing a 2-0 lead thanks to a break of 112 in the second frame, before Trump replied with an 86 break to halve the deficit.
The Australian then regained a two-frame advantage, but only for Trump to produce a sensational hat-trick of centuries: 121, 127 and 119 to turn the match on its head and lead 4-3.
After going three frames without potting a ball, Robertson recovered to make a 96 to restore parity before adding a terrific break of 111 to get his nose in front at the halfway stage.
Trump drew first blood in the evening session to level at five apiece, and it looked as though Robertson was on course to make a maximum in the following frame, but only to break down on 104, much to the disappointment of a packed Coventry crowd.
Trump then levelled before compiling a break of 84 to move 7-6 in front, but the nip and tuck nature of the match continued as Robertson hit back with an 81 in frame 14.
A 62 break gave Trump an 8-7 lead, but China Open winner Robertson crashed in an emphatic 135 clearance to peg back once again.
Trump recovered from needing a snooker to clinch frame 17, but the favour was returned in the next as Robertson fought back from the snookers required stage to force a re-spotted black – which he rolled into the right middle pocket to force a decider.
The 2010 World Champion was then handed the scoring chance he craved in the decider and took full advantage with a thunderous clearance of 137 to close out an incredible victory and prompt emotional scenes with his onlooking family.
The victory marks Robertson’s sixth non-ranking title and is his third televised title of the year, while Trump was beaten in a final for the first time in his last seven appearances.