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Judd Trump new snooker world No 1 after International Championship final win

Top Trump: Judd is new world No 1 after beating Ebdon to reach final in China

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UPDATED:

12:50 GMT, 2 November 2012

Judd Trump roared to the top of the world rankings for the first time as he beat Peter Ebdon 9-1 to reach the International Championship final in Chengdu.

The 23-year-old Bristol cueman assured himself of the number one slot with a ruthless performance against an out-of-sorts Ebdon, who paid a high price for his frequent mistakes.

Former world champion Ebdon made the only century, a 106 break in the fourth frame, but that was a blip in the flow of the one-sided contest, and Trump goes on to face the winner of Saturday's second semi-final between Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson in Sunday’s final.

Top of the world: Judd Trump is now the new world snooker No 1

Top of the world: Judd Trump is now the new world snooker No 1

With 125,000 going to the winner, plus a slew of ranking points, the new tournament has instantly become one of the most important on the World Snooker tour.

And while his stablemate Ronnie O’Sullivan missed the trip, citing illness, Trump, whose first major title came at the China Open in April 2011, is reaping the benefits.

Judd Trump, Peter Ebdon, Neil Roberton and Shaun Murphy in Chengdu semis

Trump and Ebdon to face off in Chengdu semis, with Robertson and Murphy in the other

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UPDATED:

19:12 GMT, 1 November 2012

Judd Trump booked a semi-final against Peter Ebdon after edging out Mark Allen in a thrilling 6-5 victory at the International Championship in Chengdu.

Trump was on the brink of victory at 5-3 up before Allen hit back to level at 5-5 forcing the world No 2 to compose himself and see out the final frame.

Ebdon, in contrast, had a far more straightforward passage into the final with a 6-0 win over Ricky Walden.

Trump has not won a ranking title since York last December but he is now just two matches away from the 125,000 top prize but it was Allen who won the first frame with a break of 83.

Marching on: Judd Trump will play Peter Ebdon in the Chengdu semi-finals

Marching on: Judd Trump will play Peter Ebdon in the Chengdu semi-finals

Trump levelled with a 70 and then moved 2-1 ahead. Allen's run of 98 saw him make it 2-2 but breaks of 75 and 107 put Trump 4-2 ahead.

Allen pulled one back with 121 but Trump took a 5-3 lead to move to within sight of victory.

A run of 104 from Allen closed the gap and he came from 41-0 down in the next to make it 5-5. Trump made 60 before failing to land on a red when splitting the pack.

Allen was 61 points down but still had five reds left, but after Trump played a snooker behind the black, Allen left a red to a centre pocket and his opponent potted it to seal victory.

'It was a good game, we both played well,' Trump told www.worldsnooker.com. 'I had a good lead then I was just trying to finish it off. I kept going into the pack and landing on nothing so I was getting frustrated. But I just had to try to stay patient and wait for a chance.

'It will be a different challenge against Peter tomorrow. I'll just have to play my own game, try to get in front and try to dominate the match.'

Ebdon's match, although seemingly straightforward, took 50 minutes longer than Trump's match with a top break of 81 helping China Open champion Ebdon stay on course for his second ranking title in China in 2012.

Ebdon said: 'It was a scrappy match, one for the connoisseur. But I'm really looking forward to the semi-final against Judd and playing a best-of-17 match in our joint-second most important ranking event.

'Every match is different so you have to play it as it comes.'

Neil Robertson will tackle his fellow former world champion Shaun Murphy in the other semi-final.

Australian left-handed cueman Robertson put a halt to 14-year-old Chinese potter Lu Haotian's run, recovering from 2-1 behind to win through 6-2 against a player who knocked out Dominic Dale in the second round.

'It was strange playing someone so young,' said 30-year-old Robertson, Crucible champion in 2010. 'It made me feel really old.

'I had to use all of my experience, especially in the close frames. I won two on the black otherwise it could have been different. Lu has got a tremendous future.'

Murphy, world champion in 2005, was 3-1 behind against Marco Fu, but won through 6-4 with a best break of 129. The Englishman halted his Hong Kong opponent, but refused to get carried away about being in the last four.

'Stephen Hendry used to say that when he got to the semi-finals he was only halfway there, so there's still a long way to go,' Murphy said. 'Neil and I have had some great matches in the past and we'll have more in the future.'

Neil Robertson into second round of International snooker Championship

Robertson overcomes passport issues to make it into second round of inaugural International Championship

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UPDATED:

17:52 GMT, 28 October 2012

Neil Robertson advanced to the second round of the inaugural International Championship in Chengdu before revealing a passport mix-up almost cost him his place in the tournament.

Former world champion Robertson beat Welshman Ryan Day 6-3 in the evening session to set-up a potential meeting with Matthew Stevens in the next round.

But the Australian, who is currently living in England, had visa issues ahead of his trip to China and could have missed the chance to win the new 600,000 world ranking event.

Going through: Neil Robertson made it into the second round in in Chengdu

Going through: Neil Robertson made it into the second round in in Chengdu

'The past week has been a nightmare,” he told worldsnooker.com.

'I sent the passport recorded delivery to the DVLA's Peterborough office, but then they sent it by normal post to Swansea and then back to me. The Post Office was no help and I couldn't track it.

'The passport finally turned up at my house half an hour before I was due to leave to go to Heathrow to fly to Shanghai. So I just had to hope that when I arrived they would give me a visa.'

Robertson also praised the sport's governing body for supporting him during the mishap and thanked the staff who sorted the visa upon landing in China.

He said: 'Luckily World Snooker helped me a lot and I was able to provide all of the supporting documents to prove that I am a snooker player and I was going to the biggest tournament in China.

'As it turned out, the immigration staff in Shanghai all knew who I was and wanted pictures with me.

'I was there for about five hours, then I was given the visa and was able to fly to Chengdu. Obviously it was not ideal preparation so I'm just really pleased to have played well tonight and got the result.'

Shaun Murphy labelled the new tournament the “fourth major” on the snooker calendar.

The 30-year-old Englishman needed only 89 minutes to secure a spot in the second round, seeing off compatriot Andrew Higginson 6-0 with breaks of 67, 52, 86 and 96.

Murphy, who lifted the World Championship title in 2005, revealed he has been looking forward to what he considers an important new fixture in the sport.

'It's been a long time coming this tournament, and it's exciting to come to a city in the west of China where we've never been before,' he said.

'In terms of ranking points and prize money it's on a par with the UK Championship, so it can be seen as the fourth major.'

Jamie Burnett will face fellow Scot Stephen Maguire in the first round after beating Niu Zhuang 6-0 in their wild-card match.

Aditya Mehta of India also reached the first round proper after seeing off Zhu Yinghui 6-5.

He is joined in the final 32 by countryman Pankaj Advani after his wild-card opponent Zhou Yuelong pulled out of the tournament.

Fergal O'Brien set up a first round match against Judd Trump after a 6-3 success over Chen Feilong.

Three other wild-card matches were completed earlier in the day with 14-year-old Lu Haotian coming from 5-2 down to beat Michael White 6-5 in front of his home support.
White, who required treatment on an ankle he injured playing tennis yesterday, was forced to compete in just his socks to try and minimise the pain.

Lu will now progress directly into the second round after receiving a bye due to Ronnie O'Sullivan's decision to pull out of the tournament.

Veteran Ken Doherty also bowed out to youthful Chinese opposition, the Irishman losing 6-5 to 15-year-old Zhao Xintong.

The all-Chinese tie between Cao Yupeng and Wang Yuchen saw the former fight from 4-1 down to secure a 6-5 win and secure a meeting with John Higgins in the last 32.

Mark Allen queries Ronnie O"Sullivan"s late withdrawal from International Championship

Allen queries O'Sullivan's late withdrawal from International Championship

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UPDATED:

15:22 GMT, 27 October 2012

Mark Allen has asked the first questions of Ronnie O'Sullivan's withdrawal from World Snooker's new flagship tournament in China.

The International Championship in Chengdu offers world ranking points on a par with the UK Championship and a first prize of 125,000.

O'Sullivan withdrew on medical grounds, prompting World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association chairman Jason Ferguson to say it would mean 'huge disappointment' for the Chinese supporters.

Northern Irishman Allen, among the likely title contenders after overcoming a passport blunder to travel out, wrote on Facebook: 'So ronnie pulls out of china again!! Thoughts'

Outspoken: Mark Allen

Outspoken: Mark Allen

The 26-year-old added in a later post: 'Don't understand why he enters though. If he doesn't wanna play don't enter. It affects draws, rankings, sponsors, seedings and all.'

O'Sullivan's condition was not disclosed – but he was able to play an exhibition match against Jimmy White in Liverpool on Thursday. Last year he suffered badly with glandular fever and pulled out of the Haikou World Open in China and the PTC finals in Ireland.

The Chigwell man has expressed a dislike for the heavy schedule and travel demands on players in the game, with the ranking system in its present guise placing an emphasis on the importance of players turning out each week.

Despite winning the German Masters and World Championship this year, by taking a four-month break from competition following his Crucible triumph O'Sullivan has drifted out of the world's top 16. His ranking – currently 17th – will continue to slide for not travelling to China.

While the 36-year-old recovers at home, Allen will be looking to claim his second major ranking title, having won his first also in China at the Haikou Open earlier this year.

Missing out: Ronnie O'Sullivan pulled out of the International Championship

Missing out: Ronnie O'Sullivan pulled out of the International Championship

That came after Allen, on arrival in Haikou, launched a fierce attack on the tournament and local people which saw him reprimanded by World Snooker.

He almost missed the trip this time, having taken his wrong passport initially, leaving behind his visa.

But Allen is a player full of confidence and form, having recently won a minor tournament in Belgium by defeating world number one Mark Selby in the final.

'That win has been a long time coming,' Allen said.

'I was really struggling earlier in this season, but I've spent a lot of time with my coach Terry Griffiths up at South West Snooker Academy.

'He's helped me get my mind right. And I've practised hard leading into this event. I had a good attitude throughout.

'I'm really pleased to be playing well again. We've got some very big tournaments coming up, the International in China next week and the UK Championship is not far away.'

In the title hunt: Allen has a chance of victory in China

In the title hunt: Allen has a chance of victory in China

A dark horse for the eight-day Chengdu tournament is Stuart Bingham, who enjoyed 6-0 wins over both Selby and Neil Robertson in the Premier League in Guildford on Thursday, firing in four century breaks.

He and fiancee Michelle are due to marry next year, and Bingham's 16,000 one-night winnings will cover the cost.

'We're getting married in Cyprus in May so that pays for everything,' Bingham said.

'In practice everyone can play like that but to do it on the main stage was unbelievable.

'I've beaten the world No 1 and former world champion – well I hammered them.'

Absent from China along with O'Sullivan will be Stephen Lee. The world number seven has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation by the WPBSA into betting matters.

The action in Chengdu sees former world champions Shaun Murphy, Robertson and Ken Doherty all start their campaigns.

Ronnie O"Sullivan pulls out of International Championship in China

Blow for China snooker tournament as world champion O'Sullivan pulls out

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UPDATED:

15:43 GMT, 26 October 2012

Ronnie O'Sullivan pulled out of the upcoming International Championship on Friday to deal a major blow to the richest tournament China will have ever staged.

The reigning world champion, who this week questioned his own decision to return to the tour after a short hiatus, has cited medical reasons for his decision to withdraw from a tournament which begins in Chengdu on Sunday.

Withdrawal: World Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has pulled out of the International Championship in China through illness

Withdrawal: World Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has pulled out of the International Championship in China through illness

Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, said: 'We have been made aware that Ronnie has been unwell. The usual process for players pulling out of tournaments will now be applied.

'This is a huge disappointment for all of the fans in China who were hoping to see him play. However there is still an outstanding line-up of the world's best players at the International Championship and it will be a top-class event.'

The International Championship offers prize money similar to the UK Championship, with a total fund of 600,000, of which 125,000 goes to the winner.