John Higgins and Judd Trump expect another classic in their dramatic rivalry


John Higgins and Judd Trump meet again on Saturday at the English Open (Pictures: Getty)

‘Every time I play John, it just seems to be full of drama,’ says Judd Trump of John Higgins, and both men are expecting more of the same when they meet again on Saturday in the English Open semi-finals.

The pair have had a number of memorable tussles over the years, none more so than the two World Championship finals they have played together.

Higgins beat a young, gung-ho Trump in the 2011 Crucible final, before the Ace came of age to produce one of the finest performances ever and win the 2019 final in Sheffield, leaving the Wizard in his wake.

At 48 years old, Higgins has seen it all, but clashing with Trump is something that still gets the juices flowing and he can’t wait for the challenge this weekend.

‘I love these occasions, absolutely love it, especially playing Judd,’ said the four-time world champion.


‘He’s been a breath of fresh air for our game for so many years. He brings out the best in me and I think I bring the best out of him.

‘He produced probably the best ever performance anyone’s ever produced against me in the World Championship final.

Judd Trump in his finest hour at the Crucible in 2019 (Picture: Getty)

‘It wasn’t great for two days when I was sat glued into my chair! But you obviously sat in awe, because you know how incredibly difficult this game can be sometimes. You sat there thinking it was a special performance. He’s got that in his locker.

‘We’ve had battles in big, big tournaments and I’m sure this semi-final will be the same.’

The two men have already produced a dramatic, close contest this season as Trump won the last two frames to pip Higgins 6-5 in the European Masters semi-finals in August.

The Englishman knows what he is up against in the Scot and expects another tight game in Essex.

‘He’s an amazing player,’ said Trump. ‘I think there have been times where he was at his absolute peak and I was just below it and he was winning all of them and then you could say the opposite and I was winning all of them.

‘Now, I think he’s coming back to somewhere near his best again and I’m not at my absolute peak as well so it’s a very level game with us at the moment. It’s always normally really close between us and it’s sort of just fractions and the odd ball here or there.

‘Every time I play John, it just seems to be full of drama with deciding frames and everything. It’s a game I always look forward to.

‘I think John is back to somewhere near his absolute best. He looks like he’s scoring really heavily and he’s looking really dangerous again.’

There is very little in the head-to-head record between the two, but Trump has had the upper hand in recent years, since that blistering performance at the Crucible four years ago.

‘It’s good to have that belief in yourself that your record’s good against someone as good as John,’ he said.

‘It also puts a bit in his mind. For him to get over the line he knows maybe he hasn’t done it as often as he used to or hasn’t done it in a while.

‘It can be tricky. The more you beat someone the more it’s an indentation in their confidence and it definitely helps with your own positive mindset.’

The rivalry resumes at 1pm in Brentwood.

MORE : Judd Trump still looking for confidence in search for top form

MORE : John Higgins unfazed by painful defeats: ‘My whole career I’ve had them’

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