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Champion of Champions Final Preview: Allen aiming to halt the Juddernaut

Judd Trump won the Champion of Champions tournament in 2021 and the in-form Englishman is aiming to regain his title in Sunday's final against Mark Allen.

Trump, runner-up in 2014 and 2019, has reached his third straight final at the event and he will be hoping to go one better than last year, when he lost 10-6 to Ronnie O'Sullivan at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Trump kicks on after October's treble triumph

Judd Trump racked up a hat-trick of tournament triumphs in October, winning the English Open, the Wuhan Open and the Northern Ireland Open, and he is targeting a fourth title of the 2023/24 season on Sunday.

Trump has extended his impressive form by reaching the Champion of Champions final, brushing aside Thailand's Baipat Siripaporn 4-0 in the last 16 before taking on Shaun Murphy in the quarter-finals.

The third seed had to come from 3-1 down to beat the experienced Murphy 6-4, producing what has been hailed as one of the greatest shots in snooker history when the match was finely balanced at 3-3.

Despite that stroke of genius, when he potted the yellow and came off two cushions to free up the last remaining red, Trump was disappointed with his overall performance in the last eight.

"I felt like I played terrible," he said after his victory over Murphy. "It's one of the worst I've felt all season. I didn't feel like my cue action was there."

Defending champion O'Sullivan had withdrawn from the tournament to be replaced by Ding Junhui but Barry Hawkins looked a major threat to Trump in the semi-finals after some excellent displays in Bolton.

Hawk grounded by opponent's flying start

Hawkins had booked his place in the last four thanks to a 4-0 victory over world champion Luca Brecel, in which he had two century breaks, and a 6-2 win against Robert Milkins.

Trump and Hawkins met in the final of the European Masters in Nuremberg in August when The Hawk emerged victorious by nine frames to six.

However, Trump took control of their Champion of Champions semi-final thanks to a blistering start which saw him race into a 5-0 lead.

Hawkins responded by winning the next three frames, keeping alive his hopes of staging a stunning comeback, but his Bristolian opponent sealed a 6-3 win to reach his fifth tournament final of the season.

Allen pulls away from Higgins

In the second semi-final on Saturday night, Allen defeated Higgins 6-2 to set up a mouthwatering final against Trump.

Veteran Higgins, who won the Champion of Champions title in 2016, had cruised into the semis thanks to a 4-0 win over Chris Wakelin in the last 16 and a comprehensive 6-1 success against Ding in the Group One decider.

He was on course for a maximum break of 147 at one stage of the match against Ding before missing the 13th red while semi-final opponent Allen had sparkled in comfortable wins over Jimmy White and Ali Carter.

And the Northern Irishman, who last lifted a trophy at the World Grand Prix back in January, was again in rock-solid form, winning four frames in a row after he and Higgins went into the interval locked at 2-2.

Breaks of 102 and 77 helped Allen cruise through to victory and he is relishing a showdown with Trump, saying: "I'm excited to be playing Judd, he's the best in the world at the moment, but I have a good record against him."

Allen has won 17 matches against Trump, who has triumphed 14 times and in their four previous finals meetings, the Northern Irishman holds a 3-1 advantage over his fellow left-hander.

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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