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Trump soars to number one
Judd Trump roared to the top of the world rankings for the first time as he beat Peter Ebdon 9-1 to reach the International Championship final in Chengdu.
The 23-year-old Bristol cueman assured himself of the number one slot with a ruthless performance against an out-of-sorts Ebdon, who paid a high price for his frequent mistakes.
Former world champion Ebdon made the only century, a 106 break in the fourth frame, but that was a blip in the flow of the one-sided contest, and Trump goes on to face the winner of Saturday's second semi-final between Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson in Sunday's final.
With £125,000 going to the winner, plus a slew of ranking points, the new tournament has instantly become one of the most important on the World Snooker tour. And while his stablemate Ronnie O'Sullivan missed the trip, citing illness, Trump, whose first major title came at the China Open in April 2011, is reaping the benefits.
Trump leapfrogs Leicester's Mark Selby at the top of the rankings, becoming the 10th player to become number one since the system was introduced in 1976. Selby suffered a second-round defeat this week against Ricky Walden as his grip loosened.
Since Trump's breakthrough title when he won as a qualifier in China, he has gone on to reach a World Championship final and take the UK Championship title, justifying the attention that surrounded him as a teenager.
He landed a 147 maximum break in competition at the age of 14, becoming the youngest player to achieve the feat, but the early years of his professional career were a struggle, and it was not until last year that he reached the top 16.
The frustrating times are long gone, as evidenced by the opening session when Trump built a 7-1 lead over a man who beat Ricky Walden 6-0 on Thursday. Trump, having edged out fellow sparky left-hander Mark Allen 6-5 in a gripping quarter-final, set out to dominate against Ebdon, a player whose tactical expertise has ground down many an opponent.
He was afforded perhaps more opportunities than would have been expected, as Ebdon struggled for fluency, failing to capitalise when chances presented themselves. Trump, who began with a break of 61, rarely needed asking twice. Ebdon was handed a warning at the end of the third frame by referee Zhu Ying when he conceded before reaching the point where he needed snookers. The century followed, but limited resistance thereafter.
The 42-year-old looked like making it 7-2 at the start of the second session but missed a regulation red and Trump cleared up to move a frame away. And he effectively sealed his place in the final with a run to 63. Ebdon, needing four snookers, played on, but his hopes were shot, and when Trump sank another red he had little option but to concede.