PUBLISHED: 10:30 23 November 2016
PA Wire/PA Images
Romford-based potter goes through at UK Championship
Judd Trump admits that Ding Junhui’s narrow escape earlier in the day proved the perfect motivation for a convincing 6-2 win over James Wattana at the 2016 Betway UK Championship last night.
Two-time champion Ding was forced to a deciding frame by world number 124 Igor Figueiredo before prevailing at the York Barbican, but there was no such trouble for Trump as he recorded an impressive century on the way to victory.
Thailand’s Wattana has been as high as world number three, as well as winning six ranking events, and though his prime is long behind him, he posed a tricky test for Trump.
And the 2011 champion conceded that Ding’s near-miss had been a stern reminder of the potential for upset.
“Seeing Ding nearly go out helped a little bit because you know most people are decent down the rankings,” said the 27-year-old.
“It is very hard, I think everyone is just battling to get through the first round. Maybe I was slightly unlucky to get James, it was a tough draw. But I played okay, I played well enough to get through.
“James promoted the game in the whole of Asia, he is an ambassador over there. I played against him in one of the Chinese tournaments a couple of weeks ago and he played some good stuff.
“I had to play really well to beat him. I knew it was going to be tough.”
Trump looked comfortable in winning the first frame before Wattana fought back, showing his scoring power in consecutive breaks of 55 and 73.
Wattana then had a chance to take the fourth, but a mistake handed Trump the initiative, which he seized with five consecutive frames.
Back-to-back breaks of 90 in frames five and six were followed up by a free-flowing 109 in the eighth frame as the Romford-based potter eased home.
Despite the margin of victory in a tournament where he has enjoyed great success, Trump suggested there was plenty of room for improvement ahead of this weekend’s second round.
“I didn’t play great, but it is probably good that I didn’t – it will make me go away and practise hard to make sure I get through the next round,” he added.
“I have got good memories of York, I seem to enjoy it. It is the first big tournament of the year. I will get my family here, get a lot of support and really try to enjoy it.
“He made a good clearance to go 1-1 and another good break to go 2-1 and he had a chance at 2-1, but that was the turning point I think.
“If he had gone 3-1 up I would’ve been under pressure. There’s a little bit of practice to be done. My long potting wasn’t great.”
*Follow the UK Championship LIVE on Eurosport with Colin Murray, Jimmy White, Neal Foulds and Ronnie O’Sullivan.
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