Liang Wenbo hails Ronnie O’Sullivan’s help after triumphing in English Open final against Judd Trump
17:30 17 October 2016
PA/Press Association Images
Wenbo, who trains at the Grove Snooker Academy in Romford, defeated Trump 9-6 after some words of advice from O’Sullivan
Liang Wenbo believes his friendship with five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan enabled him to win his maiden ranking event title, the inaugural English Open, on Sunday evening.
The Romford-based potter beat Judd Trump 9-6 at EventCity, Manchester – sealing victory with a composed break of 39 – to win a ranking final at the third time of asking and pocket £70,000.
The Chinese cue man also remains in the hunt to earn a one million bonus, which will be awarded to any player who can win all four events of the new Home Nations Series, with the English Open being the first.
Wenbo – who will rise to world number 12 following his success – practises with O’Sullivan at the Grove Snooker Academy in Romford and claims a pep talk from the great man before the final made the difference.
“I am good friends with Ronnie,” said the 29-year-old. “We have practised together for two years and eat together every day so that has helped me a lot. He has helped me so much and I want to thank him for that.
“On Saturday night after my semi-final he said ‘you should watch last year’s UK Championship final [where Liang lost 10-5 to Neil Robertson] and work out what you will do differently’. I watched that and made sure I stayed calm.
“I’m very, very happy – this week I have played very well and in the final I played some very good snooker. I enjoyed the game and just kept going. The last two frames I played brilliantly – I just concentrated on every shot.”
World number three Trump won the European Masters in Romania last week and was a heavy favourite heading into the final, but after falling behind Wenbo early on, he could never get back on terms.
The Chinese star produced some mesmerising long potting and Trump admits his opponent’s fearless style of play was like facing a younger version of himself.
“It’s very important to be confident,” said the Chigwell resident. “It showed because Liang was just going for everything and it was all going in.
“When you’re able to play with that freedom and you’re not worried about missing, it’s a completely different game out there.
“He produced some unbelievable long potting – I haven’t really faced that before. That’s probably how it felt when people were playing me when I was younger.
“It’s not a great feeling when you know that wherever you put the white, someone can smash the ball in!
“I’m disappointed. I was thinking about winning back-to-back ranking events and I was a little bit annoyed not to get that achievement.”
The English Open was LIVE on Eurosport One and Quest, featuring daily studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.