Mark Allen held off a tremendous fightback from Judd Trump to win a maiden World Grand Prix title and continue his superb season.
Trump roared back from 7-2 down to 8-8, and then 9-9, to force a deciding frame at Cheltenham’s Centaur Arena, but Allen held his nerve with a gritty 52 break to sneak over the line just as a famous comeback beckoned.
Victory further strengthens Allen’s grip on the one-year list, with the 36-year-old having already won titles at the Northern Ireland Open and UK Championship this season.
Allen arrived into the evening session with a 6-2 lead after reeling off five straight frames from 2-1 behind. And he picked up where he left off, or perhaps even improved, as he compiled a brilliant 88 break to open up a five-frame lead.
Trump had registered just a solitary half-century break in the first session, but he showed the sort of resolve that carted him to the Masters title at Alexandra Palace last week with a 140 total clearance. From that point on, he was a different player.
He made a 108 knock in the next after Allen had broken down on 30. Even though Allen responded with a magnificent total clearance of his own – this time a 141 – to head into the interval 8-6 ahead, Trump kept scoring as breaks of 51 and 87 upon the resumption saw him move within two.
After an electric start to the evening, the players could be forgiven for growing cagy as the tension increased. A tight 15th frame was settled when Trump arrowed an immense pressure pot into bottom right before he saw it out for 8-7.
Prior to his triumph last week, Trump had consistently complained that he has not had the run of the balls this season but he got an almighty stroke of luck in the 16th when a plant attempt saw the red ricochet off the jaws of bottom left, spiral up the table and off the top cushion, then back into the intended pocket. Soon it was all square.
Both players missed makeable shots on the pink in the next frame, with Allen eventually sneaking it after his opponent briefly sought snookers, but Trump made a timely 76 to leave a one-frame shootout.
And with the tension at its highest, both players blew an opportunity before Allen got in for a decisive 52 that saw him add yet more silverware in his remarkable season.
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