Ron­nie O’Sul­li­van tips Judd Trump for world snooker ti­tle

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Five-time world cham­pion Ron­nie O’Sul­li­van has la­beled English ri­val Judd Trump the fa­vorite to win the 2015 World Cham­pi­onship, which starts on Satur­day.

The pair have met in three fi­nals so far this sea­son, with O’Sul­li­van lead­ing 2-1, although the 25-yearold Trump im­pressed when win­ning the World Grand Prix.

Trump, who lost to Scot­land’s John Hig­gins in the 2011 World Cham­pi­onship fi­nal, has long been hailed as one of snooker’s ris­ing stars and O’Sul­li­van said: “Judd has now beaten me in a big fi­nal and I think that was im­por­tant for him.

“I would say he goes in to the Cham­pi­onship as the fa­vorite — but of course there are peo­ple ca­pa­ble of up­set­ting him.”

“The Rocket” added: “Hope­fully I am one of those and you are look­ing at play­ers like Mark Selby, Shaun Mur­phy and Neil Robert­son while John Hig­gins has come back to some bet­ter form.

“But I just see Judd as the player in front at the mo­ment. We have seen what can hap­pen when he gets on a roll.”

O’Sul­li­van, beaten by Mark Selby in last year’s World Cham­pi­onship fi­nal at Sh­effield’s Cru­cible Theatre, will face tour­na­ment debu­tant Craig Stead­man in the first round.

Selby too is up against a Cru­cible new­comer in Nor­way’s Kurt Maflin, who beat Ir­ish vet­eran Fer­gal O’Brien in the fi­nal qual­i­fy­ing round on Wed­nes­day.

Trump too is up against an­other World Cham­pi­onship debu­tant in Stu­art Car­ring­ton.

Mean­while Selby will be look­ing to over­come the “Curse of the Cru­cible” which has seen no first-time cham­pion suc­cess­fully de­fend their ti­tle the fol­low­ing sea­son since the World Cham­pi­onship moved to the venue in York­shire, north­ern Eng­land, back in 1977.

“The record speaks for it­self,” said world num­ber one Selby. “It is in the back of my mind, you can’t take that away. I feel I’m con­fi­dent enough.

“Just to win it once as I did last year was a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment for me but to win it twice and break the curse would be out­stand­ing.

“I also heard that no-one has ever won the China Open and then gone on to win the World Cham­pi­onship so you could say there are two records.”

He added: “Now I’m try­ing to make a name for my­self I have no­ticed that play­ers are rais­ing their game against you be­cause you are seen as more of a scalp than you were five or six years ago — in a way that just shows what you have achieved and is a good ac­co­lade.”

For all O’Sul­li­van’s talk­ing up of Trump, Selby was in no doubt about who would start fa­vorite for the tour­na­ment.

“Ron­nie is Ron­nie. He is one of the great­est to play our game — if not the great­est. He will al­ways be in with a shout,” Selby said.

“I may be the de­fend­ing cham­pion but he will still prob­a­bly go there as fa­vorite and no­body would dis­agree with that, he is still the one to beat.”

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