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2019 Tour Championship

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Coral Tour Championship
Coral Tour Championship Logo.png
Tournament information
Dates19–24 March 2019
VenueVenue Cymru
CityLlandudno
CountryWales
Organisation(s)WPBSA
FormatRanking event
Total prize fund£375,000
Winner's share£150,000
Highest break Neil Robertson (AUS) (135)
Final
Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan (ENG)
Runner-up Neil Robertson (AUS)
Score13–11

The 2019 Coral Tour Championship was a professional snooker ranking tournament, held between 19–24 March 2019 in Llandudno, Wales. It was the first edition of the Tour Championship and the eighteenth ranking event of the 2018/2019 season. It was the final event of the inaugural Coral Cup.

In a repeat of the Players Championship final two weeks prior, Ronnie O'Sullivan defeated Neil Robertson 13–11 to claim his 36th ranking title, equalling Stephen Hendry's record of total ranking event wins. In winning the event, O'Sullivan returned to the world number one ranking for the first time since May 2010, and won the Coral Cup. The event was also O'Sullivan's third ranking title win of the season, having won the UK Championship and the Players Championship earlier in the season.

The event's highest break prize was won by Robertson, scoring a break of 135 in frame 16 of his first round victory over Mark Selby.

Tournament summary[edit]

The 2019 Tour Championship was the third and final event in the Coral Cup series of events first introduced in the 2018/2019 season after the World Grand Prix and the Players Championship. The series saw players qualify by virtue of their placement on the one-year ranking list, rather than by world ranking. The event sees the top eight players from the one-year ranking list play in a single elimination tournament. The Tour Championship was played between 19–24 March 2019 in Llandudno, Wales.[1]

For the first time since the 2010 UK Championship, the Tour Championship saw an event, other than the World Championship, that was contested with every match being played over multiple sessions, with two in the quarters and semis, and three in the final.[2] The best of 25 final was the first non-World Championship match of this length or longer since the 1992 UK Championship final and was held on 23 and 24 March 2019.[3]

The event was primarily broadcast by ITV4 in the United Kingdom.[4] The event was also broadcast by Sky Sport in New Zealand, NowTV in Hong Kong, and Superstars Online in China. Despite broadcasting all except one other event of the season, Eurosport did not broadcast the event.[4][a]

First Round[edit]

Judd Trump after playing a shot.
Judd Trump overcame a 3-frame deficit to defeat reigning world champion Mark Williams 10–9.

The first round was held between 19–21 March 2019, with all matches being played over two sessions as best of 17 frame matches. Neil Robertson played Mark Selby in the first match of the tournament. Robertson took an early lead, taking the first two frames with breaks of 88 and 110.[5] Selby then won six frames on the spin, which included three centuries to lead 6–2 after the first session.[5]

In the second session, Robertson won the first three frames, to trail 5–6. In frame 12, Selby missed the frame ball pink, allowing Robertson to tie the match at six all.[6] Robertson would also win frame 13 to lead the match for the first time since frame 2. Selby won frame 14 despite requiring three snookers, and would also win frame 15 to lead the match again at 8–7, before Robertson took the match to a decider with a break of 135.[6] Frame 17 – the final frame, lasted over an hour and went to the final black. After Selby attempted to double the black ball, Robertson potted the black to win the frame and match.[6][7]

The second first round match saw reigning Masters champion Judd Trump draw reigning World champion Mark Williams.[8] The pair were tied at four all after the first session, but Williams won four of the next five frames to lead 8–5. Trump would then complete a come-back and win the next four frames to come through another final frame decider.[9] Post match, Trump commented that Williams "controlled" the match, but missed too many long pots towards the end of the match.[10][11]

The third first round match saw Ronnie O'Sullivan play Stuart Bingham. O'Sullivan took a lead of 6–2 after the first session of the match, before winning frame nine and a 45-minute frame ten to lead 8–2.[12] Bingham would reply to win frame 11, but O'Sullivan took frame 12 to win 9–3.[9][13]

The fourth and final first round match saw a repeat of the 2018 Masters final, with Mark Allen drawing Kyren Wilson. Allen took an early lead, finishing 6–2 after the initial session of the match,[13] and increased his lead to 7–2 with a century. Wilson captured the next three frames, before Allen won frame 13 to lead 8–5. Wilson won the next two frames to trail 8–7, before breaking down in frame 16 allowing Allen to make a break of 71 to win 9–7.[9][12] After the first round, all four top seeds won their respective matches.[11]

Semi-finals[edit]

Neil Robertson playing a shot on the pink ball.

The second round saw the four remaining players compete in two best of 19 frame matches, played between two sessions. Both matches were held between 21–22 March 2019. The first match was played on 21 March 2019 and saw a rematch of the season's Masters final, between Judd Trump and Ronnie O'Sullivan. The pair were also the highest two in the ranking list for the Coral Cup, with both having won one of the previous two events in the Coral series: Trump winning the World Grand Prix, and O'Sullivan the Players Championship.[12] In addition to the Masters, the two also met in the final of the 2018 Northern Ireland Open, Trump winning on both occasions.[14]

The first session of the match saw Trump take the first frame with a break of 54, before O'Sullivan tied the score at one all.[15] Trump won frames three and four to lead 3–1 before the interval.[15] Trump also won frame five, before O'Sullivan made a century to trail 4–2. Trump, however, would win the remaining two frames of the session to lead 6–2.[14]

The second session saw O'Sullivan clinch the first two frames to reduce the lead to 4–6, before Trump won two of the next three frames to lead 8–5. O'Sullivan won both frames 14 and 15 with two century breaks of 130 and 134 to trail 7–8 and won a tense frame 16 to tie the match 8–8.[16] Trump won a scrappy frame 17 to lead again, before O'Sullivan won frame 18 to send the match into the final frame.[17] In the decider, Trump secured the first chance, but broke down at 50 by missing a long red into the bottom left corner. Despite a waistcoat foul on his previous shot, O'Sullivan was given another opportunity to clear the table, but he missed the final red near the cushion rail, allowing Trump back on the table.[18] Trump however missed the match winning yellow close to the cushion into the green pocket,[16] which eventually allowed O'Sullivan to clear the table to complete the comeback on the final black ball.[17][19]

The second semi-final was played on 22 March 2019, between Mark Allen and Neil Robertson. Allen got off to a good start, winning the first two frames of the match with a break of 78 in frame 2.[20] Robertson then won the next five frames, which included back-to-back centuries in frames 4 and 5 and a clearance of 69 in frame 7.[20] Allen then captured the final frame of the session to trail 3–5.[20]

The match's second session started with Robertson extending his lead to 6–3, then Allen won the next three frames with breaks of 82 and 103 to tie the match at six all.[21][20] Robertson then won the next three frames with a combined 303 points without reply.[20] Frame 16 saw Allen score enough to take the frame to the snookers required stage, only to snooker himself on the final red behind the green ball, allowing Robertson to clear the table and win the match 10–6.[21][22]

Final[edit]

The final was played between 23–24 March 2019, played over three sessions in a best of 25 frames played between Ronnie O'Sullivan and Neil Robertson. The pair had also met in the final of the Players Championship two weeks prior. The winner of the match also won the Coral Cup, awarded to the player who wins the most prize money over the three Coral tournaments.[23][24]

The first session was played on the evening of 23 March 2019.[24] Robertson won the initial two frames of the match, with O'Sullivan winning the next two with breaks of 74 and 97 to tie the match two all at the session interval.[25] After the intermission, O'Sullivan would also win the next three frames with breaks of 71 and 67 to lead 5–2.[26] The final frame of the session, frame eight saw Robertson make a frame winning 48 to trail 5–3 overnight.[27][28]

Ronnie O'Sullivan chalking his cue stick.
Ronnie O'Sullivan won the event, defeating Neil Robertson in the final 13–11 to win his season's third championship.

The second and third sessions were both played on 24 March 2019.[23] O'Sullivan extended his lead in frame 9 with a century break, however, missed a frame-ball pink in frame 10, allowing Robertson to win the frame to trail 6–4.[29] Robertson made a break of 106 to win frame 11, before O'Sullivan restored his two frame advantage, winning frame 12, to lead 7–5, and later after the interval 8–6.[25] Robertson, however won both the final two frames of the session to tie the match eight all heading into the final session.[29]

The final session saw O'Sullivan win frame 17 with a break of 129, before Robertson equallised the score at nine-all. They also shared the next two frames to tie the match at 10–10 heading into the interval.[30] O'Sullivan pulled ahead to 12–10 in the next two frames. In frame 23, Robertson accidentally knocked a red into the pocket whilst opening the pack, but O'Sullivan broke down on a break of 16, which allowed Robertson to win the frame to trail 11–12.[25] Robertson would also have the first chance in frame 24, making a break of 28, before missing a black ball from the spot allowing O'Sullivan to win the frame and tournament with a break of 89. The win would see O'Sullivan win his 36th career ranking championship, equalling the record set by Stephen Hendry between 1987–2005.[30][31]

In winning the event, O'Sullivan reached world number one after the event, leapfrogging Mark Selby who had held the position since February 2015.[32] At the age of 43, he was also the oldest snooker world number one since Ray Reardon in 1983.[32] O'Sullivan also picked up the Coral Cup, scoring £280,000 over the three Coral events, winning two. The closest challenger for the award Judd Trump had scored over £100,000 less over the same events.[33][25]

Prize fund[edit]

The tournament was the first Tour Championship in this format. The event had a prize fund of £375,000 with the winner receiving £150,000. The breakdown of prize money for the event was as below:[34]

The "rolling 147 prize" for a maximum break stood at £15,000, but went unclaimed.

Seeding list[edit]

The seedings were conducted on the basis of the one-year ranking list up to and including the 2019 Gibraltar Open.[35]

Rank Player Total Points
1  Mark Allen (NIR) 394,000
2  Ronnie O'Sullivan (ENG) ^ 353,500
3  Judd Trump (ENG) 307,000
4  Neil Robertson (AUS) double-dagger 305,500
5  Mark Selby (ENG) 246,500
6  Mark Williams (WAL) 223,500
7  Stuart Bingham (ENG) 213,000
8  Kyren Wilson (ENG) 190,500
^ Event winner double-dagger Event Runner-up

Coral Cup[edit]

The 2018/2019 Snooker season introduced the Coral series, featuring three events, the 2019 World Grand Prix, 2019 Players Championship and the 2019 Tour Championship. For all three events, qualification was based on players' rankings on the one-year ranking list.[36] Earning the most overall prize money across the three events, Ronnie O'Sullivan won the inaugural "Coral Cup".[37] The top ten players with total prize money won over these events is shown below:[33][b]

Player World Grand Prix Players Championship Tour Championship Total
England Ronnie O'Sullivan 5,000 125,000 150,000 280,000
England Judd Trump 100,000 30,000 40,000 170,000
Australia Neil Robertson 5,000 50,000 60,000 115,000
Northern Ireland Mark Allen 7,500 30,000 40,000 77,500
England Ali Carter 40,000 10,000 0 50,000
England Mark Selby 12,500 10,000 20,000 42,500
England Stuart Bingham 7,500 15,000 20,000 42,500
England Kyren Wilson 12,500 10,000 20,000 42,500
Wales Mark Williams 5,000 15,000 20,000 40,000
England Barry Hawkins 20,000 10,000 0 30,000

Main draw[edit]

Quarter-finals
Best of 17 frames
Semi-finals
Best of 19 frames
Final
Best of 25 frames
         
1  Mark Allen (NIR) 9
8  Kyren Wilson (ENG) 7
1 Northern Ireland Mark Allen 6
4 Australia Neil Robertson 10
4  Neil Robertson (AUS) 9
5  Mark Selby (ENG) 8
4 Australia Neil Robertson 11
2 England Ronnie O'Sullivan 13
3  Judd Trump (ENG) 9
6  Mark Williams (WAL) 8
3 England Judd Trump 9
2 England Ronnie O'Sullivan 10
2  Ronnie O'Sullivan (ENG) 9
7  Stuart Bingham (ENG) 3

Final[edit]

Final: Best of 25 frames. Referee: England Greg Coniglio
Venue Cymru, Llandudno, Wales, 23–24 March 2019.
Neil Robertson (4)
 Australia
11–13 Ronnie O'Sullivan (2)
 England
Saturday Evening: 69–6, 87–29 (50), 0–74 (74), 0–97 (97), 16–77 (71), 24–106 (67), 60–71 (Robertson 54), 65–24
Sunday Afternoon: 17–100 (100), 60–49, 106–0 (106), 32–69 (55), 82–27, 0–89 (89), 61–7 (61), 68–7
Sunday Evening: 5–129 (129), 62–36 (53), 0–95, 77–10, 30–80, 4–91 (55), 73–20, 35–89 (89)
106 Highest break 129
1 Century breaks 2
5 50+ breaks 10

Century breaks[edit]

The event saw a total of 22 century breaks. The event's highest break of 135 was made by Neil Robertson in his opening round match with Mark Selby.[38]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Eurosport also did not cover the 2018 Champion of Champions.[4]
  2. ^ Prizes in bold denote an event win

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2018/19 Calendar" (PDF). World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 18 July 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 May 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Tour Championship Draw and Preview – SnookerHQ". SnookerHQ. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Coral Tour Championship - World Snooker". World Snooker. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Tournament Broadcasters 2018–19 – World Snooker". World Snooker. Archived from the original on 10 January 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Selby Storms To Llandudno Lead – World Snooker". World Snooker. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Robertson Wins Black Ball Epic – World Snooker". World Snooker. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Tour Championship: Ronnie O'Sullivan leads Stuart Bingham; Mark Selby beaten by Neil Robertson". sportinglife.com. 20 March 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
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  15. ^ a b "Tour Championship semi-final: Judd Trump leads Ronnie O'Sullivan 6–2". sportinglife.com. 21 March 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Trump leaves Ronnie in trouble". sportinglife.com.
  17. ^ a b "Tour Championship: Ronnie O'Sullivan comes back to beat Judd Trump in thriller". BBC Sport. 21 March 2019. Archived from the original on 23 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
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  24. ^ a b "Rocket Secures Llandudno Advantage – World Snooker". World Snooker. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
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  26. ^ "O'Sullivan leads overnight in Tour Championship final". RTE.ie. 23 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  27. ^ "Tour Championship: Ronnie O'Sullivan holds lead over Neil Robertson". BBC Sport. 24 March 2019. Archived from the original on 24 March 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  28. ^ "Rocket Secures Llandudno Advantage". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 23 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  29. ^ a b "Robertson Sets up Grandstand Finish". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 24 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  30. ^ a b "O'Sullivan Claims Record Equalling Title". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 24 March 2019. Archived from the original on 24 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  31. ^ "Tour Championship: Ronnie O'Sullivan Beats Neil Robertson to become world number one". BBC Sport. 24 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  32. ^ a b Editorial, Reuters. "Snooker – O'Sullivan on top of the world after Tour Championship win". U.K. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  33. ^ a b "2019 Coral Cup – World Snooker". World Snooker. Archived from the original on 12 February 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
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  37. ^ "Coral To Sponsor New Snooker Series". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 21 November 2018. Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  38. ^ "Coral Tour Championship 2019 – Centuries". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Archived from the original on 25 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.