Three Things Learned After the World Open
After each big tournament this season we’ll be reflecting on the latest action, so let’s take a look at a few things learned after the World Open.
Trump has a huge lead at the top of the world rankings list.
Trump Can Win Ugly
Judd Trump emerged victorious in Yushan on Sunday to add a 13th ranking event title to his growing tally.
The world champion has five pieces of silverware in total during a glittering 2019 calendar year.
On most of those previous occasions – for instance, at the Masters in January when he thumped Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final or perhaps his devastating demolition of John Higgins in the showpiece showdown at the Crucible in May – Trump has produced an outstanding standard of snooker.
That was replicated when he quickly triumphed in the International Championship in the summer, quelling any doubts that he might struggle the season after claiming the sport’s blue riband crown.
Perhaps just as impressive was his ability to get the job done in last week’s World Open despite not playing anywhere near his best.
The 30 year-old was involved in a number of close battles, with a hat-trick of his ties determined after lasting the distance.
Trump squandered big early leads as he has done on numerous occasions in the past but, crucially, held himself together to find a way to keep himself in the tournament.
Everyone is well aware of the Englishman’s ability to annihilate when he’s at his peak – just ask Shaun Murphy after the final in Daqing – but there haven’t been too many occasions in the past when Trump has won titles with his B game.
That he’s discovered the confidence to do that now is a worrying sign for the rest of his rivals.
Crowned Zhiyuan #WorldOpen champion tonight, @judd147t has bagged £150k in Yushan! pic.twitter.com/9ldbbIWrCU
— World Snooker November 3, 2019
Un-Nooh Can Win Ugly
Funnily enough, a lot of the same things could be said about runner-up Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
Okay, the Thai fell short of capturing a second ranking title but can still feel like he’s turned a corner after the World Open’s climax.
The 34 year-old, winner of the Snooker Shoot Out in February, has always had an enviable amount of talent at his disposable.
Un-Nooh is the quickest player on the Main Tour and when he’s in full flow and the balls are flying in, he is a joy to watch.
Yet, there have been times in the past when he has been unable to control his speed and the result has been that he has lost a lot of matches he should have won due to a lack of composure.
After winning the invitational Haining Open in the build up to Yushan, the former world amateur champion’s confidence was obviously high.
Winning a succession of tight affairs will have helped that mood to soar because there’s no way that the Un-Nooh of old would have emerged from so many nervy battles unscathed.
In the quarter-finals he edged compatriot Sunny Akani before a brace of incredible comeback victories over David Gilbert and Kyren Wilson respectively.
Un-Nooh couldn’t complete another turnaround in the final but didn’t wilt after falling 7-1 behind and made the scoreline a respectable looking 10-5 reverse.
He is within touching distance of a place among the top 16 in the world rankings for the first time – a feat that, should he achieve it, would match his pedigree.
Snooker’s Coming Home?
It’s hard for this to not come across as disrespectful but, let’s be honest, a great deal of fans are glad that after the World Open the Chinese events are over for another year.
There’s no questioning their importance on the schedule as they provide the players with brilliant opportunities and huge sums of money.
However, the old criticism of these Chinese tournaments lacking in any character remains apt.
Aside from the Shanghai Masters, they all pretty much look the same and are bereft of much atmosphere.
There’s still the mega-bucks China Open to come towards the end of this campaign, of course, but for the foreseeable future the tournaments will be back in the Western Hemisphere.
There’s this week’s Champion of Champions in Coventry before the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast and the UK Championship in York.
The Scottish Open in Glasgow completes the action for 2019 and then there’s the return of the Masters in London at the outset of 2020.
With a variety of formats and the likelihood that most sessions will actually have a crowd in that will help serve up an atmosphere, there’s plenty to look forward to for the armchair supporter.