By Jonathan Davies
Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump will battle it out at the Ricoh Arena for the right to be crowned the 2014 Dafabet Champion of Champions.
O’Sullivan beat Ding Junhui 6-4 in Saturday’s semi-finals to continue his perfect record at this event, while Trump overcame Neil Robertson by the same scoreline after an exciting finale.
16 players arrived at the start of the week and just two remain after what has been another fantastic tournament in Coventry.
Defending champion O’Sullivan began his bid to retain the title on Wednesday with a 4-2 win over Stuart Bingham in a repeat of last year’s final. He made two centuries along the way but hardly needed to move through the gears when he whitewashed Marco Fu 6-0 in the Group 1 final.
He faced his biggest test against last season’s five-time ranking event winner Ding in the last four. The world number three fought back from 3-1 down to 4-4, but the Rocket ruthlessly powered his way through with breaks of 91 and 125 to seal his final berth.
O’Sullivan is happy to have reached his first final of this season and he enjoys playing at the Ricoh.
“I am just pleased to be in another final”, he admitted. “I thought three or four years ago it was over for me so now everything I get is a bonus.
“It is a great atmosphere; I hope the tournament is here to stay. When we play in venues like this you get up for it.”
Of his opponent in Sunday’s showpiece, he added: “Judd has one way of playing which is very attacking so he is dangerous. But with that danger you can be left open to a counter punch sometimes.”
Trump has played arguably the best snooker of the week. He thumped Stephen Maguire 4-1 in the Group 3 semi-final on Tuesday, before battering World champion Mark Selby 6-1 in the final.
The Ace in the pack faced Robertson in the semi-final in a repeat of the Australian Goldfields Open final, which Trump won earlier in the year to confirm his place in this event having already captured last season’s Championship League.
He stole two crucial frames from the Australian before holding his nerve on a gripping black-ball battle with the scores at 5-4, to eventually pot it and reach his third final of the season.
Trump reflected: “I didn’t play very well so I am just really happy to have got through. I knew I had to win that frame, I wasn’t confident if it went 5-5, I felt Neil would have probably won it. I was under a lot of pressure (to pot the black), so I will take a lot from that.
“I think it will be an attacking final. Hopefully I can play better than I have today, get on with it and have a quick game with a lot of scoring.”
The head-to-head is fairly close at 6-5 in O’Sullivan’s favour, while he also won the last meeting which was the semi-final of the 2013 World Championship.
Trump has won the only previous final they have contested – the 2011/12 European Tour’s Antwerp Open.
The stage is set. Will the Rocket power his way to a second successive title or will Judd come up ‘trumps’ when it really matters?
It is the best of 19 frames with every ball been shown live on ITV4 from 1pm, and the first player to reach 10 frames will collect the trophy as well as a cheque for £100,000.