Match Previews

World Snooker Championship Final Tips: Rejuvenated Trump can deny O'Sullivan's bid for history

2019 World Champion Judd Trump
Judd Trump has found form when it matters most

"Trump reiterated that, having come into the event out of form and confidence, reaching the final feels like a huge achievement and he's going out to enjoy himself. That is an ominous signal."

The World Championship has its dream final, as Ronnie O'Sullivan bids for a seventh title against Judd Trump, who is looking for his second. Paul Krishnamurty sees little between them and is therefore backing the outsider...

This has been a truly unforgettable renewal, exemplified by the semi-final line-up and in particular yesterday's deciding-frame thriller. It is perhaps therefore fitting, that the final is the one that most snooker fans most wanted to see. The GOAT versus the man with the best chance of one day emulating his unrivalled achievements.

Head-to-head is tied 13-13

Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump haven't met at the Crucible for nine years. Ronnie won their 2013 semi-final 17-11 en route to what was his fifth world title, during what I'd regard as the best spell of his remarkable career. Whilst he's still around that level, Trump has improved markedly in the meantime. Ignore that as a guide. Overall, they are tied 13-13 and this feels about as equal a world final as any from memory.

It must be acknowledged that, having opposed him in every round, I've been completely wrong about Trump in this tournament. My betting.betfair colleague Dave Tindall, however, is on after tipping the 2019 champion in his trends piece. His system also rated Ronnie joint-second best.

Ronnie has been near flawless so far

The betting rates O'Sullivan favourite, presumably on the basis of his form during the tournament. For sure, he's been very impressive in every round whereas Trump only found anything near his best in the semi. Don't forget, though, what a marathon this event is. Form during the early rounds is ancient history now.

After somehow surviving Mark Williams' comeback, Trump was in very positive spirits. He reiterated that, having come into the event out of form and confidence, reaching the final feels like a huge achievement and he's going out to enjoy himself.

Trump looks fresh and peaking at right time

That is an ominous signal. He produced wonderful snooker to build his lead against Williams and I wouldn't be too critical of his surrendering it. The Welshman played superbly. Judd did really well to hold it together and produce his own comeback from 16-15 down.

Regarding O'Sullivan, there's really nothing to add to what has been widely said, over and over again. He's as good as ever and that, in most cases, means unbeatable. Not withstanding any bets, surely every neutral besides Stephen Hendry wants him to equal the Scot's record of seven titles? Even if he fails this time, I reckon he'll get at least one more chance in a final. In theory, he could end up with ten titles.

It seems a given that Ronnie will bring an extremely high standard to this final. He's only ever lost one at the Crucible and the other six were all one-sided in his favour. Since going 3-0 down to David Gilbert in the first round, he's barely put a foot wrong. Even John Higgins, who has dominated their matches of late, was swept aside.

Betting looks too one-sided

However he can hardly be considered a certainty against this particular opponent and I'm inclined to think Trump represents value in a genuine 50/50 match. It may boil down to the perennial, unanswerable snooker question. If producing their very best, who is the best player?

If that is the case, and Trump has indeed timed his run to form perfectly, he represents good value at 2.47/5. One year ago, there was absolutely no question that he was the best in the world, after dominating three consecutive seasons. That he has only rarely reached that level this term is beside the point. There's one match left and Trump is buzzing again.

Trump has had a marginal edge of late

Regarding their previous encounters, I think we should restart the clock at the 2018 Northern Ireland Open final. Trump's victory there demonstrated a big step forward and, from that moment, he dominated the game. When they met at the 2019 Masters final, the younger man won easily, by a 10-4 margin. In five matches since, Trump leads 3-2, by 36 frames to 31.

Whilst still very close, that demonstrates that Trump has no reason to fear O'Sullivan and, if anything, has the edge nowadays. It is hard to form a very strong view at this level, at this stage, but for me the betting is too one-sided. Trump is the bet at 2.47/5.

More widely, I really don't think this will be one-sided. Over 31.5 Frames equates to 18-14 or closer either way. That bet landed in six of the last eight finals - none of which looked as close as this pre-match. Take the even money. It may well be that a great tournament saves the best for last. A deciding frame between the game's two biggest names. Enjoy!

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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