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Tenacious Trump denies Williams to claim second Masters crown

Jonathan Davies in The Masters

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Judd Trump v Mark Williams live stream | Masters 2023 Final preview

Trump regains the Masters trophy (Photo credit: Taka G Wu/Alamy Live News)

Judd Trump captured his second Masters crown after beating Mark Williams 10-8 in a thrilling final at Alexandra Palace on Sunday.

The Ace became the 11th multiple winner of snooker’s most prestigious invitational event, as he lifted the Paul Hunter Trophy while pocketing a cheque for £250,000.

Once again, Trump demonstrated tremendous tenacity and battling qualities, having survived match-ball to scrape past Ryan Day at the start of the week, before edging out quarter-final opponent Barry Hawkins in a deciding frame.

The world number four controlled the early stages to build a 4-1 lead and despite being pegged back to trail 8-7, he dug deep to win the last three frames and deny Williams a third title.

“I should’ve been out first round, I should’ve been out second round, I should’ve lost this one – I’m like a cat!” joked Trump.

“It’s incredible really. I got totally outplayed the whole game. I was just trying to hang on. At 8-7 down, I was gone and I managed to win that frame, and then I played all right in the last couple of frames.

“The way I played this week – not my best – this is my best ever performance to grind out to win this. I wasn’t playing well. A couple of times, I missed balls over the pockets by an absolute mile.

“Mark’s long potting was unbelievable, he put me under so much pressure. I was just able to get in front and never fall two behind. This is by far my best ever win.”

Eight months on from their epic World Championship semi-final showdown, which Trump edged 17-16, two of the game’s most decorated left-handers prepared to do battle on the big stage once more.

Exactly two decades since his last appearance, Williams was the oldest player since Ray Reardon (1983) to reach a Masters final, and he came flying out of the blocks with a magnificent 138 total clearance.

However, unforced errors crept into the 47-year-old’s game and Trump took advantage; runs of 61, 106 and 73 putting him 4-1 to the good.

Williams, who defeated seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan earlier in the week, stopped the rot with contributions of 100 and 60, but his opponent ensured a lead heading into the final session with 89.

Aiming to become the seventh player to win the Masters on three or more occasions, the Welshman took control upon the resumption with runs of 50, 80 and 52 helping him win three of the opening four frames to level at 6-6.

He then edged his nose in front for the first time since the opening frame, but Trump levelled after taking a 58-minute long 14th that saw a tactical masterclass from both players.

Williams responded magnificently with a stunning 107 clearance, only for his opponent to square things up again on the yellow.

The world number seven countered in frame 17 after Trump was in first with 59, but he broke down on 40 after losing position on the penultimate red, allowing the Bristolian to move to the brink of victory.

Also champion in 2019 after a commanding 10-4 win over O’Sullivan, Trump required no second opportunity to double his tally after Williams missed an ambitious early red, sealing his maiden silverware of the campaign in style with a wonderful clearance of 126.

“It was a great match all the way through. I think the standard was quite good,” Williams added.

“Judd made a fabulous break in the last frame; that’s what he does, that’s why he’s one of the best in the world.

“Judd was just a bit too strong for me at the end. I’m not a young man anymore, but I’m still giving these youngsters a run for their money. I can’t quite beat him, but I’m getting close.

“It’s been a brilliant week, I’ve loved it. I’ve left everything out there, I couldn’t have give any more.”

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