UK Championship snooker 2020 – Neil Robertson snatches title on final pink as Judd Trump cracks
A tense and thrilling UK Championship final went to a decider for the first time since 2014, with Neil Robertson seeing off Judd Trump to land the £200,000 top prize after a marathon last frame. Robertson had already made history by setting the record for most centuries at a single UK Championship (13).
Neil Robertson celebrates with the UK Championship trophy
Neil Robertson edged a tense final-frame decider against Judd Trump to win a third UK Championship title after an error-strewn final that finished at 00:54am local time.
Robertson looked set to finish runner-up in the Triple Crown event as Trump rolled in the colours in the final frame, but the world number one botched the last pink to hand Robertson the latest of reprieves. He made no mistake.
It was a thrilling conclusion to a match that had occasionally bordered on hopeless, with both players wilting under the Marshall Arena lights in Milton Keynes, which played host to the tournament instead of York due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"To use a quote from Mark Williams, it almost got so bad it was so good," said Robertson after his 10-9 win, while Trump confessed he had "bottled it".
'He's missed it!' - Watch the stunning conclusion to epic final
Robertson and Trump had cruised into the final with lightning breaks and impressive potting, but they quickly shelved any hopes of a snooker blitz and set about trying to gain a stranglehold in the numerous safety battles.
Play resumed at 4-4 in the best-of-19 contest, with a 41-minute ninth frame setting the tone for a fraught and nervy evening session.
Trump pinched it, seizing the lead for the first time in the match, but the advantage had swung back to his opponent by the time the match got clogged again in the 14th frame.
It took 51 minutes and four seconds for the pair to be separated this time, with Trump’s brilliant final brown again restoring parity at 7-7 before the Bristolian won the next frame as the pendulum swung once more.
Robertson: 'It almost got so bad, it was good!'
The words "foul and a miss" from referee Olivier Marteel were as common as the fake crowd applause, so it was a welcome surprise when Robertson knocked in a break of 115 for 8-8 – becoming the first player in history to make 13 centuries at a single UK Championship.
Trump responded immediately, edging another scrappy frame to move within one of the title. And he would get his chance in the next.
After surviving an anxious moment when a red flirted with the jaws of the bottom left pocket before unexpectedly dropping, Trump missed another red at 48-0 to the same pocket with the table sat invitingly. Robertson accepted the invitation, making a 72 break to force the first decider at the tournament since 2014. Trump had lost that one too, going down 10-9 to Ronnie O'Sullivan.
Robertson would take over four minutes while deliberating over a tricky pink when 23-0 ahead in the 19th and final frame, eventually settling for a blue and allowing Trump back to the table – bizarrely eyeing up the shot on Sunday and deciding against it on Monday as the match stretched beyond midnight.
A safety battle ensured, fortune and skill coming to the fore in equal measure, as Robertson maintained his pedestrian tempo and Trump responded at haste.
It was eventually settled on the colours as the frame crept over the hour mark, with Trump appearing to have one hand on the trophy when he broke a safety deadlock to move within two balls of victory.
But he stuffed the final pink, gifting Robertson the chance for salvation. The world number three only needed pink for victory and after a session of twists and turns, he landed the final blow to secure the title and take home the £200,000 top prize.
Trump has little time to process his defeat, he is due to play Alexander Ursenbacher at 7pm in the Scottish Open at the same venue on Monday. Robertson is scheduled to face Lei Peifan in Tuesday’s afternoon session.
Exhausted Robertson lifts trophy and picks up £200,000 prize