Judd Trump is in that bubble at the moment where he is expected to crush every tournament that he competes in. This makes it surprising when this precisely does not happen. Joe Perry was the unfortunate player to draw the World Champion in the Last 16 of the China Championship – so let’s look at what happened.
Perry didn’t open the match with the best break-off shot; allowing Trump to sink a long pot but unexpectedly missed the next black off the spot. Perry wasn’t able to capitalise in his subsequent visit but following a series of safety exchanges, Perry was able to take the first frame with a break of 89.
Frames 2 and 3 were Trump’s only contribution to the scoreboard. Frame 2 was one which should have gone to Perry but missed a black while on a break of 59. The reds were out in the open which enabled Trump to clear and steal the frame with a break of 60. This frame was followed by a 102 from Trump in Frame 3. Seems like business as usual for Trump, right?
The fourth frame was one of the most interesting in the match. A solid opener from Perry led to a break of 43 but, as seems to be the pattern with this match, a missed black while trying to carefully separate the pack was his downfall. This frame provided multiple opportunities for Trump to get in and at least accumulate some points but he didn’t seem to get any rhythm despite winning the two previous frames. After a lengthy safety exchange, Trump went in-off and Perry potted enough balls for Trump to concede.
A break of 92 favoured Perry in Frame 5. A somewhat audacious plant attempt in the next frame from Trump went in-off and reds were left all over the table. Perry was able to build a 66 point lead with 5 reds left on the table. There was an attempt to steal from Trump but missing the first black led to concession.
The final frame of the match didn’t do Trump any favours either. After a good split off the blue, he went in-off on the next red. One good opening shot and kiss off the blue later led to a break of 36 from Perry. At 14-46, there was a safety battle between the competitors, which led to Trump’s cue ball making contact with the object ball on the way up the table in one of his safeties. This was the opening Perry needed to take frame and match which of course, he did.
There’s not much to say about why Trump lost this bout but it looks like it was just a bad day which wasn’t helped by the unfortunate kisses and in-offs he suffered during the match. Furthermore, his long potting wasn’t where it normally is either. Some of his long pots were close, but the majority of them were missed considerably by someone of his standards.
Even some of his short distance pots were uncharacteristically missed. Unfortunately, in this match Perry was just missing less. After Trump’s two frames, he just couldn’t get into the match like he normally would. Despite this, something that was displayed is that Trump is probably the best off-the-cushion player in the game. There were many shots off-the-rail during the match which Trump played wonderfully and like no other.
This departure won’t raise any concerns for Trump or his fans. He is still the best player in the world currently and this will be supported by all others on the tour at the moment. It would perhaps be a little more worrying if he didn’t win the International Championship but as it stands, he is still atop the peak of the mountain and steams ahead in the rankings.
Their last encounter was a 6-2 victory for Trump in the International Championship back in August. This win from Perry brought Trump’s 15 ranking game win streak to an end. Joe Perry shows once again that he can scrap with the best of them. Even though he subsequently lost his quarter-final match against an impressive Hossein Vafaei, Perry will take a lot of confidence from his performance in the Last 16.