Liang Wenbo wins his 1st snooker ranking title
Liang Wenbo, photo, became the inaugural winner of the Coral English Open by beating Judd Trump 9-6 in the final in Manchester, winning his first ranking title.
Liang led throughout the final, and fended off a late rally from Trump, the crucial moment coming in the 14th frame when he made a brilliant clearance to go 8-6 ahead. Soon afterwards the player nicknamed The Firecracker was exploding with exuberant celebrations as he potted the winning balls, before lifting the new Steve Davis Trophy and pocketing a cheque for £70,000.
The 29-year-old could be in line for a far bigger prize later in the season as victory in the other three Home Nations events – the Northern Ireland Open, Scottish Open and Welsh Open – would land him a massive £1 million bonus.
Liang can now celebrate becoming the only player from mainland China other than Ding Junhui to win a world ranking title. His previous career highlights include winning an Asian Tour event in 2013 and the World Cup for China alongside Ding in 2011.
Liang’s two previous ranking finals were the 2009 Shanghai Masters when he lost 10-5 to Ronnie O’Sullivan and last year’s UK Championship when he was beaten by Neil Robertson by the same scoreline.
Trump received £30,000 and remains third in the world.
“I’m very happy,” said Liang. “In the last two frames I concentrated on every shot and made two good breaks. Snooker is a very difficult game but if you don’t enjoy it you don’t play well. Judd put me under pressure but to go 8-6 ahead gave me more confidence.
Liang also mentioned a chance meeting with legendary football manager Sir Alex Ferguson in his hotel yesterday, adding: “He said he would be watching my matches and he told me to concentrate.”