Judd Trump admitted he would like to win the Northern Ireland Open “five or six times” following his first-round victory over Rod Lawler.
Three-time champion Trump hit breaks of 114 and 88 as he recovered from losing the opening frame to ease past world number 109 Lawler 4-1 at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, where he will play Aaron Hill in the last 64.
The Ace has dominated the Home Nations event since its introduction to the calendar in 2016. It is one of only two tournaments in which he has triumphed on three occasions, along with the World Grand Prix.
Indeed, Trump won a hat-trick titles between 2018 and 2020 – beating Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-7 in the final each time – before his 24-match winning streak in the tournament ended following defeat by inspired home favourite Mark Allen in last year’s quarter-finals.
The world number two once again has his sights set on lifting the trophy named after the late Alex Higgins, and he believes his similarly flamboyant style to the Hurricane makes him a favourite with the “exceptional” Belfast crowd.
“It’s one of my favourite places to come,” Trump told Eurosport. “Every time I come here, the crowd is exceptional, and I really feed off that.
“It’s a great arena, a great set-up in there, and it’s a place where you feel like you want to play well.
“Every time I’ve come here, I’ve always had amazing support. It might be something to do with my style of play being like Alex Higgins. I think they really get behind that and can see I’m trying my best for them and trying all these different shots for the fans out there.
“I’ve won this event a few times now, and it’s up there with one of my favourites. The greats of the game seem to have won the events five, six or seven times. I’d like to maybe win this event five or six times.”
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