Judd Trump rates Dave Gilbert's game ahead of World Snooker Championship clash

Judd Trump feels Dave Gilbert has lacked self belief over his career, but can see that starting to change and knows he faces a dangerous opponent in the second round of the World Snooker Championship.

Trump and Gilbert meet in the last 16, starting on Sunday and playing to a finish on Monday afternoon, with a place in the Crucible quarter-finals on the line.

The world number one comfortably saw-off Liam Highfield in round one, while the Angry Farmer despatched Chris Wakelin in similarly serene fashion, playing as well as he has done for months in the process.

Gilbert, along with Jack Lisowski, is often labelled one of the best players never to win a ranking title, having reached the semi-finals of the World Championship in 2019 and on each of the last two editions of the Masters.

The 39-year-old has been to four ranking finals and come up short on each occasion and Trump feels this is not down to a lack of quality, but more due to a lack of confidence in himself.

Asked why he feels Gilbert has never got his hands on some silverware, Trump said: ‘I think self belief.

‘His temperament isn’t the best either. He gets down on himself very quickly.’

Gilbert’s superb run to the Crucible semi-finals in 2019 saw him beat Kyren Wilson, Mark Williams and Joe Perry before narrowly losing out 17-16 to John Higgins in the final four.

He played brilliantly that year but lost his form badly this season after struggling with the mental impact of lockdown and the ‘new normal’ during the pandemic.

The Angry Farmer appears to be past all that now, though, is back in a good place mentally and showed that his game has returned with the 10-4 victory over Wakelin in round one, in which he made three centuries.

The Ace knows that an in-form Gilbert is a threat and that’s what he saw from him in his opening contest.

‘He had that spell of a year or two when he had that belief and I think he’s getting it back now,’ said Trump of his second round opponent.

‘I saw a little bit of his first round game and it looked like he was hitting it really well again, the belief is back, so it looks like he’s timed it well.

‘He’s not a great season but he’s dangerous. He proved that a couple of years back he probably should have got to the final that year and I’m sure he’ll be hungry after a quiet season or two, he’ll be hungry to do well again.’

Gilbert took a 7-2 lead in the first session against Wakelin and said it was the best he has felt at the table for a long time.

He is well aware how the bookmakers will price up his clash with Trump, but knows that he will win plenty of frames if he continues to play like he did in round one.

‘Last night I felt fantastic, best I’ve felt in ages,’ said Gilbert of his first session against Wakelin. ‘Get in the balls and I felt like winning the frame every time.

‘I’ve been putting a lot of time and effort into it and I feel like my game’s close, but unless you’re going into the match arena winning matches and doing something, then it’s never quite there.

On his second round tie he added: ‘Not bothered one bit, I’m going to be a massive underdog if it’s Judd but as long as I go out there and feel like that then I can put frames together.

‘If I can put frames together I’m dangerous against anybody.’

Trump and Gilbert play on Sunday morning and evening before a final session on Monday afternoon.

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