Thursday, 25 April 2013

Time for Trump?

Everything is going to plan for Judd Trump so far at the Crucible - and he has plenty to feel confident about.

The world number three played with great dominance and control to beat Dominic Dale 10-5 in round one and it looks like he's created a platform to go on and play even better.
Picture by Monique Limbos

Trump made two centuries in the match to take his 2012/13 tally to 56, which is a record for a single season. One of these was a break of 142.

These are all good signs for Judd who has had a fragmented season. He won the International Championship back in November but has since struggled for form in the other two BBC events, where ideally he would have hoped to produce his best.

Judd is only one match into his bid to become world champion and has already hit the headlines for his break building. Reaching these kinds of milestones and setting the bar so high will feed his confidence and, in my opinion, make him more dangerous in this tournament.

This doesn't cover Trump's biggest advantage this year. It's great to see him going quietly about his business. The media hurrah surrounding Ronnie O'Sullivan's return and Mark Selby's push to win the triple crown is providing Judd with a diversion of attention away from his own game.

In his press conference after knocking out Dale, he looked satisfyingly relaxed and ready for business. He is still among the favourites to lift the trophy but, so far, being spared the hype.

A year ago, he was the outright favourite to win the World Championship at this stage. His stunning potting display that took him to the final in 2011 was still fresh in everyone's minds.

In fact, he was playing so well and potting so much the year he got to the final that he never needed a plan B game to fall back on. His safety was still raw and untested at the very top level.

He has had a few setbacks since this great run and probably learned a thing or two. His tactical game is much stronger these days and he looks more prepared to battle through the scrappy frames, but he's proved he can still score along with the best of them.

I just wonder with the pressure being relieved slightly, whether this is his time he will produce his best again. Like any player, Judd would love to be crowned world champion, but it feels as if the hysteria has died down, expectations are back where they should be and he's matured into a bigger contender.

Time will tell, but eveything inside Trump's camp looks positive.

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