01 May 2024

I only have myself to blame – Judd Trump on World Championship loss to Jak Jones

01 May 2024

Judd Trump’s hopes of landing a second World Snooker Championship title were shattered by qualifier Jak Jones in a major quarter-final upset at the Crucible.

Jones, the world number 44, capitalised on an error-strewn display by the 2019 champion to turn an 8-8 overnight tie into a 13-9 win and reach the last four for the first time.

Trump offered no excuses after being lured into a war of attrition by his opponent, who is ranked second slowest of those who booked a place in this year’s tournament proper.

“I felt like I had a lot of chances and I didn’t take them,” said Trump. “I had more than enough chances today to win, so I only have myself to blame.

“A lot of the frames were quite slow and I got bogged down. His pace definitely affected me, but that’s not his fault. I just needed to get in and clear up every time, and I didn’t do that.”

Jones, who reached the Crucible quarter-final on his debut last year, is now two more wins away from becoming only the third qualifier to win the famous title after Terry Griffiths in 1979 and Shaun Murphy in 2005.

The Cwmbran man more than held his own in the first two sessions and capitalised on his opponent’s errors when they resumed on Wednesday, to wrest control.

Trump’s poor performance was encapsulated by a missed pink off its spot in the 20th frame, letting Jones in for an impressive break of 61 that put clear air between the pair at 11-9.

A miss on an even easier yellow in the next sent Jones one frame from victory, and when Trump went in-off potting a red in the 22nd frame, Jones responded with a nerveless 106 clearance to finish.

Jones, who had never previously reached a ranking semi-final, defended his pace of play and said he detected early in the game that Trump, a clear favourite with five ranking titles to his name this season alone, was out of sorts.

“I thought Judd struggled quite a bit,” said Jones. “He started off with a century, just looking like typical Judd, but after I went in 3-1 at the interval I thought he was playing really slow.

“He wasn’t the fast-flowing aggressive player that he usually is. I noticed it from the beginning and it kind of surprised me, and I took advantage.”

Jones, who will face either Ronnie O’Sullivan or Stuart Bingham in the last four, now faces an even bigger task of convincing his mum Debbie to watch him play live for the first time.

Despite ferrying her son to matches since he first turned professional at the age of 16, she is yet to watch him play either live or on the TV, and Jones does not believe the unique occasion of a Crucible semi-final will change her mind.

“She won’t even watch me on the TV,” said Jones. “At home now when I’m playing she’ll be doing the ironing or cleaning the house, that’s what she likes to do to keep herself occupied.

“She doesn’t like watching me, she pretends it’s not happening and waits for my dad to call her with the result. A Crucible semi-final is obviously a different matter and maybe she will come up, but she won’t come into the arena.”

David Gilbert capped a remarkable career resurgence as he wrapped up a 13-8 win over Stephen Maguire to seal a place in the semi-finals for the first time since 2019.

Gilbert had seen a 9-2 advantage tugged back to 10-6 overnight but withstood the Scot’s valiant comeback to set up a last-four clash with either Kyren Wilson or John Higgins.

Gilbert plunged out of the world’s top 16 in recent years amid a period of personal strife, and admitted he had no expectations of success and admitted after a season with a solitary ranking quarter-final appearance to his name, he had entered the qualifiers with few expectations.

“It was pretty much an impossible thought not long ago, and I think it’s a massive achievement,” reflected Gilbert.

I've tried to destroy my career as much as possible, I was in self-destruct mode basically. It's an incredible turnaround and I've got a lot of confidence, probably more than I've ever had

“We’re only talking five weeks ago that I sat and said, ‘can I be bothered to play the quals? I’ll just turn up to take the 10k and that’ll be that’.

“I’ve tried to destroy my career as much as possible, I was in self-destruct mode basically. It’s an incredible turnaround and I’ve got a lot of confidence, probably more than I’ve ever had. I’m motivated to prove to myself that I can go out and play.”

Higgins won the last two frames of a compelling morning session to keep in touch with Wilson in their quarter-final which will play to a finish later on Wednesday.

Resuming 5-3 after Tuesday’s opening session, Wilson reeled off four frames in a row to establish full control, but the Scot battled back to trail 9-7.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox