2023 Masters Snooker report: Judd Trump claims his second Masters title

By

The 2023 Masters Snooker tournament has displayed some incredible and tense moments as the top high-ranking players clashed at the Alexandra Palace in London.

The 49th staging of this event saw Judd Trump win his second Masters title, having seen off Mark Williams in the race-to-ten final match. The final score of 10-8 reflected the close nature of play, as Williams managed to go ahead by one frame at 7-6, after having trailed Trump in the first session 4-1.

With breaks of 138 and 140, Williams was a powerful force at the table. However, certain missed potting opportunities and uncharacteristic safety errors in the late frames allowed Trump to hold on and win successive frames to claim the title.

The Guardian quoted Trump as claiming: “This is by far my best ever win. The way I played this week is not my best, but this is my best ever performance to grind out and win this.”

Williams did not seem embittered, rather being thankful for having progressed so far in the tournament, after recent personal concerns about his future in the sport.

The final score of 10-8 reflected the close nature of play

Elsewhere in the tournament matched the same tension of the final: the start was dogged by the recent match-fixing controversy which instigated the last-minute replacements of Chinese players Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong on the roster – the two having been momentarily suspended from the professional circuit by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. They were subsequently succeeded by Iran’s Hossein Vafaei and England’s David Gilbert.

The first round saw the previous year’s winner, Neil Robertson, beaten by Shaun Murphy who won five consecutive frames over the defending champion to win the match 6-4. Robertson later claimed that flu had disrupted his preparation for the tournament, explaining his early exit.

John Higgins (himself a two-time Masters victor) was defeated in the first round by Jack Lisowski who is currently ranked 12th in the world. Higgins was participating in the competition for the 29th time, and expressed his doubts about his performance, suggesting that he might consult a sports psychologist.

Trump himself was almost defeated by Ryan Day in the first round, as Day was within one frame of a win. However, a missed re-spotted black gave Trump an opportunity to pull back in. Another missed pot on the brown ball by Day allowed Trump to then clinch the match at 6-5. A victory of Ronnie O’Sullivan over Luca Brecel saw him also progress to the next round to face Mark Williams.

The tournament produced the incredible moments of technical ability and willpower that such a high-level tournament should promise

The quarter-final race-to-six match saw Williams narrowly beat O’Sullivan. A 103 break in the final frame secured the victory, with O’Sullivan commenting: “I just didn’t score, didn’t make any breaks and my cue ball wasn’t great”.

Masters debutant Vafaei then faced Lisowski in what was a close match also, with high breaks being made by both players. Vafaei made a 143 clearance- the joint highest break of the tournament. However, it was Lisowski who eventually triumphed at 6 frames to 4.

Trump faced Hawkins in the same leg, and again narrowly escaped the jaws of defeat in a 6-5 win. Six-time Masters champion Stephen Hendry hailed Trump’s performance as “A sign of a true great and a world-class player”.

Finally, Murphy suffered a whitewash defeat at the hands of Stuart Bingham at 6-0.

The semi-finals saw two definitive victories for Williams and Trump. The former went up against Lisowski and won all frames to produce the second whitewash match of the tournament. Trump faced Bingham, securing a position in the final after a 6-1 win. The match saw numerous unforced errors from both amid a stern safety battle, with Trump admitting that, “I need to step up my game,” regarding his final game against Williams.

The 2023 Masters produced the incredible moments of technical ability and willpower that such a high-level tournament should promise. It also highlighted some of the in-form play from certain competitors which might signal the winner for this year’s World Championship. 

Image: Krangsbody via Wikimedia Commons

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.