Judd Trump cruised into the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship for the fourth straight year and admitted it would be a “shame” if he finished his career without landing a dream Crucible final against Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Six-time winner O’Sullivan is the only big name missing from an unprecedented last-eight line-up which comprises six former winners of the illustrious trophy, after Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy converted healthy overnight leads into routine wins on Monday.
Trump completed a 13-8 victory over David Gilbert and bemoaned the fact that O’Sullivan’s shock second-round loss to Anthony McGill on Friday night had scuppered a potential “dream final” between the sport’s two most popular players – for the time being at least.
“I’ve learned a lot from Ronnie over the last 10 or 15 years and hopefully we can have many more match-ups, and hopefully one day we can get that dream final,” Trump said.
“It would be a shame if it didn’t happen, but it’s so hard. He’s been to so many finals already and I’m still progressing, and hopefully over the next few years we’ll time it right. It would be amazing if it did happen, for snooker and ourselves.”
Resuming with a virtually unassailable 11-5 overnight lead, Trump could afford to let slip the opening two frames of the day before a break of 107 in the final frame steered him in the direction of a comfortable win.
Trump will next face Murphy, the 2005 champion who converted a 10-6 advantage into a 13-7 win over Masters champion Yan Bingtao, continuing a timely return to form after an underwhelming season in which he managed to reach a solitary ranking tournament semi-final.
A keen student of the sport, Murphy revealed the inspiration he gains from the weight of history at the famous venue, and believes the player who overcomes that pressure to lift the trophy next week will have richly deserved their crown.
“I sat out in the arena today and I was very conscious that it was the place where Cliff (Thorburn) made his 147 and Alex (Higgins) brought out his daughter and obviously the famous missed black – I certainly have a sense of how special it is,” Murphy said.
“Whoever does take the trophy home this year will have perhaps played the best of anyone in this tournament before. It’s a very strong last eight, as it should be in the blue riband event of the season.”
Stuart Bingham compiled two centuries as he reeled off the three frames required to seal a 13-6 win over Jamie Jones and book his place back in the last eight for the first time since he won the tournament in 2015.
Selby completed the quarter-final line-up by turning his 9-6 overnight lead into a 13-7 win over Mark Allen.
The three-time champion summoned a break of 132 in the penultimate frame and said: “I feel good in my game, and I think that’s showing. I feel like every part of my game is really strong at the moment.”
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