China’s Liang Wenbo won the inaugural English Open after beating world number three Judd Trump 9-6 in the final in Manchester as the mainlander claimed his maiden ranking title.
Liang, who’s two previous ranking finals were the 2009 Shanghai Masters when he lost to Ronnie O’Sullivan and last year’s UK Championship when he was beaten by Neil Robertson, also became the second Chinese player following Ding Junhui to win a world ranking title.
The mainlander led throughout the final before fending off a late rally from Trump as the crucial moment came in the 14th frame when he made a brilliant clearance to go 8-6 ahead.
Soon afterwards, the player nicknamed The Firecracker, sealed the win before lifting the new Steve Davis Trophy and pocketing a cheque for £70,000 (HK$660,424).
Watch: Liang Wenbo reflect on his win
“In the last two frames I concentrated on every shot and made two good breaks,” said Liang, who was also rewarded with a leap of eight places in the world rankings to number 12.
“Snooker is a very difficult game, but if you don’t enjoy it you don’t play well. Judd put me under pressure, but to go 8-6 ahead gave me more confidence.
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“I have to say thank you to O’Sullivan because I practise with him and eat with him every day. I have learned a lot from him over the past two years and he’s my best friend.
“[Before the final] he told me to look back at my UK Championship final last year and see what I could learn from it. I knew I needed to be more calm and controlled this time.
“I’m going to forget about this victory now and keep going in the next one. I always learn from every experience.”
The 29-year-old could be in line for an even bigger prize later in the season as victory in the other three Home Nations events – the Northern Ireland Open, Scottish Open and Welsh Open – would land him a £1 million bonus.
For Trump, it was a sixth defeat in 12 ranking finals.
“I was chasing him throughout the day, but I should have made it 7-7, and if I had done that it might have been a different result,” he said.
“I should have turned the screw and grabbed control of the match. I felt a bit of pressure and I was taking too much time, when I should have just got on with it.
“Liang was playing with freedom and his long potting was unbelievable. It’s good to have another winner from China.”