Zhang Anda brilliantly won the International Championship on Sunday (Picture: WST)
Ronnie O’Sullivan will not be short of motivation when he takes on Zhang Anda at the Champion of Champions, with Judd Trump expecting the Rocket to be out to prove a point.
Zhang lifted the International Championship trophy on Sunday, beating Tom Ford 10-6 in the final to claim his first ranking title in some style, making a 147 early in the match.
The 31-year-old beat O’Sullivan in the semi-finals, making it a remarkable double over the Rocket after beating him at the English Open last month as well.
Zhang made it all the way to the final in Brentwood, where Trump got the better of him, and feels that the wins over O’Sullivan have given Mighty Mouse a new level of confidence.
‘I think that any time you beat Ronnie in a tournament, that gives you a bit of an extra boost,’ Trump told Metro.co.uk. ‘Especially for him to do it twice in a row.
‘It’s hard to know whether he’s going to keep this up or he’s just done well to win while he’s playing well, because he’s never really done it before. It’s new territory.
‘He’s always looked like he’s had the potential, I don’t know what the difference is now. He’s scoring a lot heavier this season. He always looks as if he’s one of the calmer players, he looks very laid back, he takes it in his stride and not the type of person who would be nervous. He looks like he belongs there.’
Trump was pushed hard by Zhang in the English Open final, beating him 9-7 (Picture: Getty Images)
Zhang booked his spot in the Champion of Champions, starting on Monday, with the win in Tianjin and plays O’Sullivan once again on Wednesday.
The man in form will fancy his chances but Trump is expecting the Rocket to be out for revenge and very motivated to prevent a hat-trick of defeats.
‘Ronnie’s not going to enjoy that one, I don’t think,’ said Trump. ‘He doesn’t want to be losing for a third time, that’s for sure.
‘He’ll have a bit of extra incentive, he’ll want to prove him wrong this time.’
Trump went to the International Championship after winning the previous three ranking titles and he extended his amazing run to 22 match wins on the spin before defeat to Stephen Maguire in China.
Somewhat bizarrely that match was not shown as it was not on one of the two TV tables, which seemed strange given the immense form Trump has been showing and the profile of a clash with Maguire.
The world number three certainly thought it was weird and didn’t help him keep up the standards he ahs displayed over the last month.
‘Being on the outside tables wasn’t ideal for me,’ he said. ‘I didn’t lack motivation but it’s just not the same atmosphere, it’s very hard for me to have the same intensity when I play on the outside tables.
‘It was like that in the European Masters [in August], but then I felt I deserved to be stuck out on table three, I had something to prove. But this time I think most people would agree it was a bit of a strange decision for me to be out there.
‘It just felt a bit strange after being on that run that I was stuck on the outside, I lost and it felt a bit dismissed, it was all a bit hush-hush, it was all a bit weird.
‘My first game I was on the same time as Ronnie. They’ve had a long time to plan that, you’d think you’d be on Table One as defending champion, then the storyline of winning the last three events, playing Stephen Maguire, that’s a good game at any time.
‘Even after I lost, if I’d have won I’d have been on Table Three again. It seemed like all the top players kept being in the same session, which didn’t really make sense.’
Trump is still feeling good about his game though, which he should be after claiming the English Open, Wuhan Open and Northern Ireland Open titles already this season.
He is hoping to pick up the Champion of Champions trophy as well, an event he has won once before and finished runner-up in three more times, and a tournament he sees as comparable to The Masters.
The players will be sporting new t-shirts at the Champion of Champions (Picture: Matchroom Sport)
‘It’s trying to gain its own identity, staying away from other tournaments and trying to do its own thing,’ he said. ‘I think everyone loves the Champion of Champions, it’s very close to the Masters. The Masters being in Ally Pally, the crowd in London is a little bit better, but otherwise the Champion of Champions is almost there.
‘It’s a tournament I seem to have done better in as I’ve got older and I’ve recognised how big it is, the way it’s run, the way you’re treated in that event, it all makes for a better standard.’
Trump takes on women’s world champion Baipat Siripaporn in his opening game in Bolton on Thursday.
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‘He doesn’t want to be losing for a third time, that’s for sure.’