Liang beats Trump to claim maiden title

Liang Wenbo receives the English Open trophy from snooker legend Steve Davis on Sunday night.

Liang Wenbo receives the English Open trophy from snooker legend Steve Davis on Sunday night.

Liang Wenbo became the inaugural winner of the Coral English Open by beating Judd Trump 9-6 in the final in Manchester, winning his first ranking title on Sunday night.

Liang led throughout the final, and fended off a late rally from Trump, the crucial moment coming in the 14th frame when he made a brilliant clearance to go 8-6 ahead.

Soon afterwards the player nicknamed The Firecracker was exploding with exuberant celebrations as he potted the winning balls, before lifting the new Steve Davis Trophy and pocketing a cheque for £70,000.

The 29-year-old could be in line for a far bigger prize later in the season as victory in the other three Home Nations events – the Northern Ireland Open, Scottish Open and Welsh Open – would land him a massive £1 million bonus.

But for now Liang can celebrate becoming the only player from mainland China other than Ding Junhui to win a world ranking title.

His previous career highlights include winning an Asian Tour event in 2013 and the World Cup for China alongside Ding in 2011.

But this is clearly Liang’s best moment on the baize and he’s rewarded with a leap of eight places in the world rankings to number 12, as well as a place in next month’s Champion of Coventry.

“I’m very happy,” said Liang.

“In the last two frames I concentrated on every shot and made two good breaks.

“Snooker is a very difficult game but if you don’t enjoy it you don’t play well. Judd put me under pressure but to go 8-6 ahead gave me more confidence.

“I have to say thank you to Ronnie O’Sullivan because I practise with him and eat with him every day. I have learned a lot from him over the past two years and he’s my best friend.

“Yesterday he told me to look back at my UK Championship final last year and see what I could learn from it. I knew I needed to be more calm and controlled this time.

“I’m going to forget about this victory now and keep going in the next one.”

Trump, who remains stuck on six career ranking titles, said: “I was chasing him throughout the day but I should have made it 7-7 and if I had done that it might have been a different result. I should have turned the screw and grabbed control of the match. I felt a bit of pressure and I was taking too much time, when I should have just got on with it.

“Liang was playing with freedom and his long potting was unbelievable. It’s good to have another winner from China.

“I’m annoyed not to get back-to-back ranking titles but winning 14 matches in a row has given me confidence and I will try to start a new run now. When you lose a final it gives you another kick because you don’t want to feel like that again.”


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