Judd Trump feeling short of his best despite cruising through Crucible opener

The emphatic nature of the scoreline against Hossein Vafaei belied a patchy performance.

By Press Association Published: 21 April 2022 - 9.00pm

Judd Trump vowed his best is yet to come despite cruising into the second round of the World Snooker Championship with a 10-4 win over Iranian qualifier Hossein Vafaei.

The emphatic nature of the scoreline belied a patchy performance by the 2019 champion, who arrived at the Crucible on the back of a relatively low-key campaign that has yielded a solitary ranking title.

But the 32-year-old Trump said he is unconcerned by his slow start to the tournament and believes he is capable of stepping up a level when he faces former semi-finalist Anthony McGill in the second round next week.

“I never play well in the first round here, but normally something clicks as the tournament goes on,” said Trump.

“There were just too many easy mistakes and I don’t feel that comfortable playing out there. I just don’t feel like I’m going to clear up every time – that mentality’s not there.

“But the matches are so long here that anything can change. It gives me the chance to not play well one day, and the next match I’ll play my absolute best. It’s hard for me to play well every single time.”

Trump had laboured into a 6-3 overnight lead, but he effectively sealed his place in the last 16 by taking the first two frames of their Thursday session.

Betfred World Snooker Championships 2022 – Day 5 – The Crucible
Judd Trump cruised to victory over Hossein Vafaei (Mike Egerton/PA)

Trump showed his problems were not entirely erased when he missed a simple blue off the spot, giving Vafaei the chance to polish off his first Crucible century with an impressive 121 clearance.

But it was Vafaei’s turn to miss a simple colour in the next, Trump getting the better of a lengthy safety exchange to go 9-4 up before Trump went on to complete the second-round line-up.

Earlier, Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham completed a 10-5 win over 11th seed Luca Brecel to reach the second round at the Crucible for the second time.

The world number 38 built on a 6-3 overnight lead against the Belgian, who had arrived at the Crucible on the back of his best season to date.

Saengkham, who lost a final-frame decider to Mark Selby in the second round two years ago, fired two centuries in the first session on Wednesday, but Brecel gave himself hope by grabbing the final two frames of the day.

Betfred World Snooker Championships 2022 – Day 5 – The Crucible
Luca Brecel was beaten by Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham at the Crucible (Richard Sellers/PA)

Three consecutive frames upon the resumption moved Saengkham one from victory and he had a sniff of a 147 to wrap up the win after potting the first six reds and blacks with all the balls in a good position.

But after Saengkham ran aground, Brecel, who reached the final of the UK Championship and won the Scottish Open in December, hit back with his first half-century of the match to reduce the deficit.

A flamboyant century in the next took Brecel to within four frames, but Saengkham was unfazed and completed his victory in the next frame to set up a last-16 meeting with four-time Crucible champion John Higgins.

Betfred World Snooker Championships 2022 – Day 6 – The Crucible
Mark Williams established a 7-1 lead over Jackson Page (Mike Egerton/PA)

Mark Williams fired three centuries and five further breaks of 50-plus as he established a 7-1 overnight advantage over Jackson Page in their second-round match.

Page, who is good friends with Williams and trains at his club in Tredegar, was blown away by the three-time world champion, who produced one of the most dominant sessions of his career.

Stephen Maguire compiled two centuries as he established a 5-3 overnight lead over seventh seed Zhao Xintong.

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