Trump completes easy win over Dale
Updated: Wednesday, 24 Apr 2013 22:10
Judd Trump has dismissed suggestions there is a wide open field at the Betfair World Championship this year and insists no more than three players can rival him for the title.
There has been a tendency for Trump's fellow cuemen at the Crucible to suggest most of the players left in the tournament can still win it.
But Trump does not buy that, and after making a winning start to his campaign by seeing off Dominic Dale 10-5 in the first round he stressed the pool of realistic contenders remained very small.
"I know a lot of people are saying that anyone can win it but in my opinion there's only three or four who can," Trump said.
"If that certain amount of players play well then one of them is going to win it."
Assuming Trump believes he can carry off the trophy, as he should given his ability, then the players he is looking at as serious competition might comprise of Mark Selby, Neil Robertson and defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan.
But Trump refused to give names, wisely given that doing so might add needle to his future matches.
The 23-year-old certainly looked the part against Dale. The 2011 World Championship runner-up never looked in danger of joining the big-name casualties that have been fallen at an alarming rate.
Resuming this morning with a 6-3 lead, he fired 104, 73 and 61 - adding to yesterday's 142 high-break prize leader - to scupper any hopes 41-year-old Dale had of fighting back.
The beaten Welshman almost snatched the sizable consolation of a maximum break, only to miss the 13th red in the 14th frame. A 147 would have been worth £35,000 in bonuses.
"The minute Judd left me in I had nothing to lose and immediately I was looking for a maximum or at least the highest break," Dale said.
His tournament was soon over, with Trump marching on, and the Bristol-born left-hander said: "It was good. I felt really comfortable out there, relaxed and with no pressure.
"If I play like I did today I'll have a good chance."
After early exits for John Higgins, Mark Williams, Mark Allen and, most surprisingly of all, Stephen Maguire, who lost to eccentric world number 70 Dechawat Poomjaeng last night, Trump was delighted to make it through without a scare.
Ding Junhui also made comfortable progress, as China's big hope began positively with a 10-5 win over Scotland's Alan McManus.
Former semi-finalist McManus, playing at the World Championship for the first time since 2006, could not score heavily enough to seriously trouble the former UK and Masters champion, leaving Graeme Dott as the only Scot still standing in the tournament.
McManus, 42, said: "I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's fantastic to come back and hopefully I can come back next year as well."
Ding felt there was room for improvement, saying: "I lost concentration through not playing so well. I'll just forget it and think about the next one."
Robertson edged ahead of Trump in the break stakes by firing a 143 while taking a 5-4 lead against Gloucester's Robert Milkins in the afternoon session.
Robertson led 5-2 at one stage but Milkins finished on a high.
Hong Kong's Marco Fu, a losing semi-finalist in 2006, almost threw away a handsome 9-4 lead against two-time runner-up Matthew Stevens but survived a big scare to win 10-7.
Stevens missed the blue at the end of the 17th frame and Fu cleared well to clinch a showdown with Trump, starting on Friday afternoon.
"Marco just picked up the pieces really when I missed," Stevens said.
"You can't expect to come here and play badly and win. I'm disappointed in the way I played."
There was an interruption to the final frame when a spectator was taken ill, and the players had to leave the arena at a tense moment in the match, but Stevens accepted the break, saying: "Someone's health is more important than a snooker match."
Fu said of the prospect of taking on Trump: "It's going to be a good match. I hope I can enjoy it as well.
"I don't think it matters what stage of the tournament I play him. It's too early to say whether I can win this tournament or not. If I can play well and win against Judd, obviously I've got a chance."
World number one Mark Selby completed a 10-4 victory over Crucible first-timer Matthew Selt, with breaks of 71, 51, 55 and 91 seeing him tee up a second round tussle with Barry Hawkins.
Selby is bidding to become just the fourth player to win snooker's 'triple crown' of UK Championship, Masters and World Championship in the same season.
The 29-year-old from Leicester said: "Winning the World Championship is a big ask.
"I've won tournaments with my B game in the past but I don't think that's possible at the World Championship. It's such a long tournament and you need to have sessions where you go up another gear."