Trump downbeat on Crucible chances

World number four Judd Trump (5/1 – Outright) says he is heading into this year’s Betfred World Snooker Championship with no real expectations.

Trump knows what it takes to be crowned Crucible champion, a feat he achieved in 2019, but he will head into his opening match of this year’s tournament against Hossein Vafaei on Wednesday having endured an indifferent season by his own high standards (Trump 2/11, Vafaei 7/2 – Match Result).

The 32-year-old has won just one ranking event during the 2021-22 season, the inaugural Turkish Masters in March, and he admits he is not only heading to Sheffield low on confidence, but also in need of a break after a gruelling recent schedule.

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When asked about his Crucible expectations, Trump said, as per the BBC: “Nothing this year. I have not played as well as I can and don’t really expect anything from this tournament.

“It is a bit of a different feeling and just another event. It is not even an off season – it is a good season for any other player. I just haven’t enjoyed my snooker and not had the same buzz.

“After playing so many games over the last couple of years, it has taken it out of me.”

Trump’s clash with this year’s Shoot-Out champion Vafaei is one of three first-round matches that will get underway on Wednesday, with former Crucible finalists Kyren Wilson and Ding Junhui set to meet in a mouth-watering contest- (Wilson 4/6, Ding 5/4 – Match Result), while Scottish Open champion Luca Brecel will face Noppon Saengkham (Brecel 2/5, Saengkham 2/1 – Match Result).

Wednesday will also see two other first-round matches reach a conclusion, with John Higgins looking to overturn a 5-4 deficit in his clash with Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (Higgins 1/2, Un-Nooh 13/8 – Match Result), while Jack Lisowski leads the experienced Matthew Stevens 6-3 (Lisowski 1/10, Stevens 6/1 – Match Result).

All those players will be bidding to make it through to the second round after Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham and Yan Bingtao reached that stage on Tuesday.

Tournament favourite Robertson (10/3 – Outright) underlined his credentials with a 10-5 win over debutant Ashley Hugill, while 2015 champion Bingham triumphed by the same scoreline against Lyu Haotian.

Bingtao was also comfortable in his progress at the expense of Chris Wakelin, prevailing 10-6, and he will now face reigning champion Mark Selby in the last 16.

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