Judd Trump climbs off sick bed to beat Pang Junxu at UK Championship

The 34-year-old is the latest top star to arrive at the tournament suffering the apparent effects of flu.

Mark Staniforth
Monday 27 November 2023 18:37 GMT
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Judd Trump defied illness to beat Pang Junxu 6-1 in York (Mike Egerton/PA)
Judd Trump defied illness to beat Pang Junxu 6-1 in York (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

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Judd Trump revealed how his unquenchable desire for success helped lift him off his sick bed and into the second round of the UK Championship in York with a convincing 6-1 win over Pang Junxu.

The 34-year-old is the latest top star to arrive at the tournament suffering the apparent effects of flu, after Ding Junhui considered withdrawal before edging defending champion Mark Allen on the opening day. But Trump, who became only the fifth player in history to win three back-to-back ranking tournaments last month, indicated that pulling out was not an option as he targets a title that has eluded him since a solitary success in 2011.

“I didn’t feel great, but I’m always going to turn up and give it my best,” said Trump, who fears he caught the bug after attending rival Ronnie O’Sullivan’s documentary premiere in London last week.

“It’s a big tournament and you obviously want to do well in it. Maybe I had slightly lower expectations, and maybe that helped a bit. It was a decent first-round performance and hopefully I can go away and get a bit better.”

Two centuries suggested Trump was showing few ill effects against the world number 34, who had given O’Sullivan something to think about in the opening round of the World Championship earlier this year.

And Trump’s determination comes in stark contrast to reigning Crucible champion Luca Brecel, who conceded he was having to find novel ways to maintain his motivation through the current campaign.

“I just love winning,” added Trump. “I absolutely hate the feeling of losing so that’s what spurs me on. I don’t want to look back at the end of my career having missed events or not practised much.

“We get enough time off in the off-season, so when it comes to the season itself I might as well work and give it my absolute all, and win as many tournaments as possible.

“I went through a two- or three-year period of winning pretty much everything, then I went through a spell when I was still half-decent but not as good.

“The feeling of going home every time without the trophy was absolutely horrendous. For me, winning surpasses everything and there’s no better feeling than going home knowing you haven’t lost.”

Former semi-finalist Barry Hawkins also booked his place in the last 16 after recovering from a 3-1 deficit to edge qualifier Ben Woollaston.

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