Snooker: Trump triumphant as O'Sullivan raises tempo

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The Independent Online

Ronnie O'Sullivan finally spluttered into life here yesterday to claim an important early lead in his second-round match against Shaun Murphy in Sheffield.

The last-16 clash of the former world champions at the World Championship initially failed to live up to the considerable hype surrounding it, with both players looking edgy. O'Sullivan, who withdrew from this tournament before making a U-turn, somehow found himself 3-1 ahead courtesy of a series of uncharacteristic errors from Murphy.

But a break of 78 from Murphy seemed to wake O'Sullivan from his torpor and he burst into life with runs of 76, 75 and 86 to establish a 6-2 advantage going into today's resumption of the best-of-25 match.

The rising star Judd Trump confirmed the fuss over his emergence is based on far more than mere hype by powering into his first Crucible quarter-final. The 21-year-old was hailed as a prodigy after breaking O'Sullivan's record as the youngest man ever to make a 147 maximum in competition at the age of 14. Kicking on has proved more difficult, though, and this is Trump's first visit to Sheffield for four years after falling agonisingly short in the final qualifier three years in a row.

But after claiming a first ranking title three weeks ago at the China Open, the world No 14 finds himself on the kind of roll, with nine consecutive wins, that might yet carry him all the way. After his 13-6 defeat of Martin Gould, Trump, born in Bristol but now based in Romford, said: "I have almost forgotten what it is like to lose at the moment – and I don't want that feeling back.

"It's not a case of exceeding my expectations, though, I always knew if I brought a decent game with me I could win it, and I still feel that. I just can't get too ahead of myself. I have to bring myself back to reality.

"I have only won two games, and there are a lot of tough players still in the draw. There is still a long way to go, I'm not halfway yet in terms of winning the title and these matches are much longer than I am used to, but I am learning while I am out there, and so far I'm doing all right.

"There was a huge turning point at 7-5 against Martin, he had the momentum, and to win that frame on a respotted black to go 8-5 ahead was massive. I am loving it, how could you not, the atmosphere is unbelievable and there is no better stage."

Gould, 29, who lost to the eventualwinner, Neil Robertson, here last year, was generous in defeat, saying: "It's great for the sport to have someone of Judd's age bursting through, it gives kids at home something to aim at."

Trump will take on Graeme Dott, in the last eight after the Scot emerged victorious 13-11 from an epic encounter with Ali Carter. Dott said: "There was a lot of emotion there at the end, it always looked like it would go 13-11 or 13-12. Ali must be gutted, he played really well and I stole so many frames. Judd looks to be free-wheeling right now, so it should be a terrific match."

Mark Allen won another final-frame thriller but missed the chance of a 147 as he beat Barry Hawkins 13-12 to book a place in the quarter-finals against Mark Williams. The Northern Irishman let a 12-9 lead slip away, having earlier fought back superbly from 7-3 behind to go in front. But he was presented with an immediate chance in the decider when Hawkins ran in to the blue off his break, and Allen plundered 12 reds and 12 blacks. Off the last black he suffered a kick and missed a long red to halt the break on 96.