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Northern Ireland Open Sunday preview: Treble-seeking Trump taking no chances

There’s £80,000, the Alex Higgins trophy, a place in the 2023 Champion of Champions and the title of 2023 Northern Ireland Open champion on the line when Chris Wakelin and Judd Trump battle it out in Belfast.

The final is a best-of-17-frame match played over two sessions, starting at 13:00 and returning at 19:00, and it promises to be a dramatic climax to what has been an entertaining event.

All the action from Belfast can be watched via the bet365 Live Sports Streaming Service

Chris Wakelin v Judd Trump Information

  • Where is Chris Wakelin v Judd Trump? Waterfront Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland 
  • When is Chris Wakelin v Judd Trump? Sessions start at 13:00 and 19:00, Sunday 29th October 
  • Where can I watch Chris Wakelin v Judd Trump? bet365 Live Sports Streaming & Eurosport
  • What are the odds for Chris Wakelin v Judd Trump? Chris Wakelin 7/2, Judd Trump 1/5

Trump on the brink of incredible treble

Judd Trump has a chance to become a four-time Northern Ireland Open champion, and lift the Alex Higgins trophy once again, but there is even more riding on the final for the Ace. 

The Bristol potter is just one win away from becoming the first player in a decade to capture three consecutive ranking titles to complete what would be a remarkable achievement. 

The 34-year-old’s winning run started when staging a thrilling comeback to down Zhang Anda 9-7 in the final of the English Open at the start of October. 

Trump copped the £80,000 first prize in Brentwood and claimed the Steve Davis trophy for the second time in his career. 

The snooker tour swiftly moved onto the Wuhan Open in China and once again the Ace dominated the pack. 

Trump landed the £140,000 first prize when defeating Ali Carter 10-7 in the Wuhan final and the 34-year-old made it back-to-back ranking titles. 

The Ace returned to Britain to compete in the Northern Ireland Open and the heavy schedule has shown no signs of slowing the Bristol potter down. 

The 2019 world champion has beaten Julien Leclercq, Ian Burns, Noppon Saengkham, Stephen Maguire and Barry Hawkins in Belfast and those victories have made it 19 consecutive ranking event match triumphs on the bounce and many have come from unpromising positions. 

That incredible run has set up a chance to become the first cueman in a decade to capture three consecutive ranking crowns and Trump is 1/5 complete the feat. 

History on Trump’s side

Trump and Wakelin have met on 11 occasions and the Ace has won all of those previous meetings. Clearly, the Bristol potter is a strong favourite to beat Wakelin when they meet, and that dominant record in the head-to-head is a key reason. 

The pair last battled in this season’s European Masters, with Trump edging the contest 5-4 having won 5-3 in their previous meeting in the Turkish Masters last year.

The most memorable meeting between the cuemen came in the first-round of the 2018 World Championship. 

Trump was the red-hot favourite for that best-of-19-frame contest, but Wakelin battled back from 8-4 down to 8-8 and it looked like the Rugby potter was about to cause a major upset. 

Howevrer, the match went down to the final frame, and with Wakelin visibly struggling with the enormity of the occasion, Trump held his nerve to secure a dramatic 10-9 victory. 

It’s 17/2 that Trump wins tonight’s showdown on the final frame while it’s 12/1 that Wakelin records his first victory over the Ace and wins the match 9-8. 

Wakelin on the rise

Wakelin landed the first ranking title of his career when taking down the Shootout crown last season and that appears to have given the Rugby potter plenty of confidence in the latter stages of the Northern Ireland Open. 

The 31-year-old is a five-time ranking event quarter-finalist, but a run to the final in Belfast is the standout performance of Wakelin’s career and he cuts a cueman on the rise. 

The Englishman was mighty impressive when beating the talented Jack Lisowski 6-1 in the Betfast semi-finals and the improved form of Wakelin is not something that has been missed by Trump. 

Speaking of Wakelin ahead of today’s final, Trump said: “I have watched a few of Chris Wakelin’s games and he has improved a hell of a lot. I don’t think this will be a one-off, like a few players who you feel might not reach another final. 

"He blew Jack (Lisowski) away today and played some incredible snooker. He could do that against me tomorrow, though to do it in a final is a different kettle of fish. I definitely won’t be taking him lightly."

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