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Australian Open 2014 – Judd beats Neil 9-5 in all Grove Final

30 June 2014 No Comment

Neil, Judd and Wenbo are all in Bendigo for the Australian Open 2014 (June 30 – July 6, 2014). Neil fresh from his Wuxi success and a finalist last year, will try to get one better and lift the trophy in his home country. Wenbo lost to Robert Milkins in L32. Judd and Neil are through to the Final. Neil is now certain to be n°1 again after this tournament.

Last 32

Robert Milkins 5-3 Liang Wenbo

Judd Trump 5-2 Rory McLeod
Judd played extremely well – his tactical game in particular was impressive. You can read here David Hendon’s report on the match

Neil Robertson 5-2 Andrew Higginson
Neil looked tired at the start and trailed 2-1, but he refocused and won all four next frames to win. First step taken into regaining the n°1 spot.

Last 16

Neil Robertson 5-0 Jamie Jones
After a good rest, Neil was fresh and played really well in trashing Jamie Jones 5-0. He also had two centuries, including a 140, the tournament high break at this stage.

Judd Trump 5-3 Alan McManus
This was in fact a very, very close match. Judd was focused and played good match snooker, the only worry being his long potting. 18% long pot success is definitely too low at this level. Alan had a bad miss in frame 2 and will surely reflect on it because at 4-4 a player of his experience would have been a serious danger in a decider.

Quarter Finals

Judd Trump 5-4 Ricky Walden
After his 5-4 win over Ricky Walden, Judd tweeted “phew! that was close”. It was indeed. In fact Ricky could and probably should have won it. He went 3-0 up, with two big breaks, 104 & 72, in frames 1 and 2 and eventually taking frame 3 after some good safety exchanges. But Judd came back at him, to make it 3-3 with some good snooker of his own, scoring 110 and 86. Ricky made it 4-3 with a 80 break, only to Judd to respond with a 77 to force a decider. In that 8th frame Ricky was first in and had a 40+ lead when he surprisingly missed what, on television at least, looked like an absolute sitter. Judd didn’t miss his chance in the decider finishing with 85.

Neil Robertson 5-2 Robert Milkins
Neil was far from his best, but so was Robert. Stats that tell the story are: HB 64, pot success 89% for Neil, HB 39, pot success 84% for Robert.
Neil though played some good safeties towards the end. After the match he repeated several times that the important things was to win no matter how and that he struggled with position, having suffered a number of “big bounces” from the cushions. So it was welcome news to him the the tables will be reclothed ahead of the SF.

Semi Finals

Judd Trump 6-3 Xiao Guodong
Judd was impressive. He scored heavily, he had 6 breaks over 60 including two centuries, but more importantly he played in a purposeful, efficient way. There was no pushing the boat, no reckless shots. Xiao wasn’t at his best, but that doesn’t take anything away from Judd. Despite his opponent somehow under-performance, he never ceased to show respect and play the right shots.

Neil Robertson 6-2 Mark Davis
Neil scored some big breaks, but overall it was a match with little fluency and unexpected misses aplenty from both players. Neil took his chances better than Mark, and his safety game was superior but he will have to up his game if he wants to beat Judd, supposing that Judd can maintain the standard he showed against Xiao.

The Final

Judd Trump 9-5 Neil Robertson
After the first session Judd leads Neil by 5-3 and he deserved this lead. Despite a long pot success of only 27%, he was the better player. Like he did all week, he was patient, composed, and his safety was good. Neil has good stats in this session, but what stats don’t show is that he missed a few crucial balls and Judd scored much better than him when given the chance. Psychologically, it might prove important that Judd finished with a century (114), but Neil is very solid mentally and it’s certainly not over!
Congratulations to Judd, Australian Open 2014 Champion!

In the second session Judd started very strongly and went 8-3 up. In the next couple of frames he played some lose/risky shots and it cost him. But At 8-5, he played it tight again and clinched a hard fought 14th frame for victory. Neil’s attempt to blindfold him when potting the last pink had not bearing on the final result ;-)

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