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Snooker: Trump’s world title wait goes on

PUBLISHED: 07:33 03 May 2018 | UPDATED: 07:33 03 May 2018

Judd Trump in action against John Higgins during day 12 of the 2018 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield (pic Martin Rickett/PA)

Judd Trump in action against John Higgins during day 12 of the 2018 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield (pic Martin Rickett/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

There are no more positives in defeat for Judd Trump as the snooker star admits it’s time for him to put up or shut up when it comes to winning world titles.

John Higgins (right) reacts to a shot with Judd Trump (left), during day 12 of the 2018 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield (pic Martin Rickett/PA)John Higgins (right) reacts to a shot with Judd Trump (left), during day 12 of the 2018 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield (pic Martin Rickett/PA)

The Romford-based cueman came agonisingly, heartbreakingly close to ending his long-match hoodoo against John Higgins but the result was ultimately the same – Higgins wins and Trump’s wait for a maiden Betfred World Snooker Championship title goes on.

The 28-year-old led 7-3, 10-8 and 11-9 in their quarter-final at the Crucible Theatre, but the 42-year-old Scot dug in to move 12-11 ahead and even though Trump gutsily forced a decider, he still went down 13-12.

Six times the pair have now met in matches that are best-of-11 frames or longer – including the 2011 World Championship final – and six times Higgins has prevailed.

Trump has long been tipped as a future world champion – indeed, following this victory, four-time world champion Higgins reasserted his conviction that his English foe will one day lift the trophy.

But the man himself was frustrated at another chance slipping away and said: “There aren’t any positives to take – I’m 28 years old and I need to start winning these tournaments if I want to be the best.

“I take no positives from losing. The way John potted – I don’t think there’s anyone else who would have taken the balls on that he did, even Ronnie [O’Sullivan]. I think he’s probably the most calm under pressure in the game.

“Against anyone else, I would have been disappointed to lose 13-12 but John Higgins is either the second or third best player of all time, he’s playing at his best and I still only just lost.

“I don’t think anyone else in the world would have got that close against him. I held my own against him, he barely missed a ball all evening and I still got it to 12-12.

“He plays some amazing snooker at times but I stuck in there. You need the luck against him and time and time again, it just doesn’t happen for me.”

Trump fist-pumped after clinching a tense 20th frame on the black to lead 11-9, only for Higgins to reel off three frames on the trot after the mid-session interval to move within one of victory.

With the balls nicely spread, both men had chances in an enthralling frame 24 but eventually Trump made perhaps the most impressive 40 break of his life, including two reds along the bottom cushion and an incredibly thin cut of the black into a blind pocket to force a decider.

A break of 43 from Higgins was ended when he missed a mid-range red but he didn’t leave anything on and got back in following a safety exchange to seal a dramatic 13-12 victory with a knock of 41.

And after watching a Higgins masterclass, Trump is struggling to see the other three semi-finalists – Mark Williams, Barry Hawkins or Kyren Wilson – stopping him climbing the throne for a fifth time.

“It’s not an opportunity missed – I played as well as I could have played,” added Trump. “Apart from against Barry [Hawkins] maybe, given every other session of snooker I’ve seen in this Championship, I would have won it easily.

“He can only lose now if he plays badly. I think he played unbelievably, so it’s tough to play like that in every session but if there is anyone who can do it, then it’s probably John.”

*Watch the snooker World Championship LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.

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