Judd Trump dismantled John Higgins 18-9 to claim his maiden World Championship title in one of the most breathtaking Crucible finals ever witnessed.
In a classic contest, the two shared a record 11 centuries and brought up the 100th ton of the tournament.
Trump took total control at 12-5 after the first day in Sheffield, helped by a run of winning eight straight frames.
Both missed chances of maximum breaks as Trump went 16-9 up, a lead he did not relinquish in the final session.
Trump collects £500,000 in prize money, making him the first player in history to amass over £1m in a single season.
“It is incredible achievement for me from where I was,” Trump, 29, told BBC Sport.
“I have worked so hard for this. For the people around me this is so special. It was an amazing final, the standard was so high from the very first ball.
“That is probably the best I have ever played in a major final.”
Trump and Higgins in century masterclass
In a remarkable exhibition of potting from both players, they took the standard of snooker to another level, making frame-winning breaks of 50 or more in 23 of the 27 frames played.
Here is how the numbers stack up:
- Most centuries in a professional match: Trump and Higgins shared 11 tons, one more than the 10 seen in the 2016 semi-final between Ding Junhui and Alan McManus.
- Most centuries in a Crucible final: The total of 11 was also three more than the previous world finals record of eight, set in 2002 (Stephen Hendry v Peter Ebdon) and 2013 (Ronnie O’Sullivan v Barry Hawkins)
- Most centuries by a player in a single match: Trump made seven centuries in the final, equalling Ding’s record against McManus from 2016
- Most tournament centuries overall: There were 100 in the tournament, smashing the previous best of 86 from 2015 and 2016
Trump finally comes of age
Bristol’s Trump has long been touted as a world champion, previously regarded as one of the best players never to win in Sheffield, but now he has finally fulfilled his potential and moves up to second in the world rankings.
One of the pre-tournament favourites, he reached the final in part by capitalising on the shock exits of world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan and three-time winner Mark Selby from his half of the draw.
This has been by far the best season of Trump’s career, winning three ranking titles, and he becomes the first player since Mark Williams in 2003 to claim the double of World Championship and Masters in the same campaign.
He has now also completed snooker’s Triple Crown following his victory at the UK Championship in 2011.
Earlier that year, he was beaten in his first world final appearance by Higgins, going agonisingly close with his all-out attacking style of play which he labelled himself as “naughty snooker”.
Some of that was on display again in this final, playing a black with the cue behind his back, which brought a smile from Higgins, and another red down the cushion that was described as “Alex Higgins-esque”.
But he is a complete player now, having won 11th ranking titles in total, turning on the style with heavy scoring and possessing a potent safety game.
Trump took apart O’Sullivan at Alexandra Palace in January and this was another demolition job of one of snooker’s greats – a run of eight frames in a row and four centuries on the first day setting the platform for a tremendous triumph.
En route to the final, Trump:
- Overturned a 6-3 deficit to win a thrilling final-frame decider against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the first round
- Fought past Ding Junhui in the second round after going 9-7 down
- Eased through to the semi-finals with a comfortable 13-6 win over Stephen Maguire
- Beat qualifier Gary Wilson 17-11 in the semi-final
Higgins’ unwanted hat-trick
Four-time champion Higgins came up short once more having been beaten in 2017 by Selby and Williams last year.
The 43-year-old has now lost four finals in Sheffield – only Jimmy White with six has been beaten in more – but he played his part against Trump.
Reaching the final was an achievement in itself for Higgins, bringing to an end a poor season by his high standards in which he failed to win a ranking event and hinted at retirement in December.
Although he made four centuries in the match, taking his overall tally in Sheffield to 150, he was outclassed by a relentless Trump and admitted he was “lucky to get nine frames”.
“I was the lucky one to not have to pay for a ticket, he was just awesome,” the Scot added.
“It will be the first of many I am sure, to produce a standard like that is incredible. He was unplayable.
“I never expected to get to the final, I came up against an unstoppable machine.”
The story of the final
A dazzling opening day was described by 1997 champion Ken Doherty as “one of the best ever” as the two players shared the first eight frames with four centuries and three further breaks over 50 or more.
Though Higgins made 125 at the start of the second session, Trump took total control thereafter by winning eight straight frames including two further centuries and runs of 71, 58 and 70.
‘The Wizard of Wishaw’ came out firing in the third session, sinking a superb double on the 15th red while on a maximum 147 break which was heartily applauded by Trump in his seat, but he missed the next black. Higgins followed it up with 59, but Trump showed his class with knocks of 101 and 71 to go 14-7.
Trump, nicknamed ‘The Juddernaut’, needed to win all four of the following frames to win the match with a session to spare, but Higgins’ 67 in the 23rd frame guaranteed an evening finish.
He made a further 70 but Trump’s brilliant 104 with 13 reds and 13 blacks put him two from victory heading into the final session.
Trump’s 94 put him on the cusp of snooker’s biggest prize, which he took with another cool break of 62.