2019 Champion of Champions
The 2019 Champion of Champions (also known as the 2019 ManBetX Champion of Champions for sponsorship reasons) was a professional snooker tournament taking place from 4 to 10 November 2019 at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, England. It was the ninth Champion of Champions event, which was first held in 1978. The championship features 16 participants who have won World Snooker events throughout the prior snooker season. As an invitational event, it carried no world ranking points. Winners of both the World Seniors Championship and Women's World Championship competed at the event for the first time. The event featured a prize fund of £440,000 with the winner receiving £150,000.
|Dates||4–10 November 2019|
|Total prize fund||£440,000|
|Highest break||Mark Allen (NIR) (140)|
|Champion||Neil Robertson (AUS)|
|Runner-up||Judd Trump (ENG)|
Ronnie O'Sullivan was the defending champion, having defeated Kyren Wilson 10–9 in the final of the 2018 event. O'Sullivan lost 5–6 to Neil Robertson in the semi-finals. Robertson met reigning world champion Judd Trump in the final. Robertson defeated Trump 10–9, having required from his opponent in the 18th frame. There were 20 century breaks during the tournament, eight of which were in the final. Mark Allen made the highest break of the tournament, a 140 in his semi-final loss to Trump.
The 2019 Champion of Champions featured 16 winners of events from the previous 12 months on the World Snooker Tour. The World Women's Snooker Championship and the World Seniors Championship were also included on the list of eligible championships with their winners allowed to participate for the first time. The event was broadcast on ITV4, and organised by Matchroom Sport.
Qualifying players were split into four groups of four players. Each group played on a different day, with the semi-finals and final played on 9 and 10 November. Matches were of differing lengths throughout the competition, with the opening round being a best-of-7 , group finals and semi-finals best-of-11-frames, and the two-session final played as best-of-19-frames. Having defeated Kyren Wilson in the 2018 final 10–9, Ronnie O'Sullivan automatically qualified for the event.
The event featured a prize fund of £440,000, an increase of £70,000 over the 2018 event. The winner's prize money was increased by £50,000 to £150,000. The breakdown of prize money for 2019 was:
- Winner: £150,000
- Runner-up: £60,000
- Semi-finalist: £30,000
- Group runner-up: £17,500
- First round loser: £12,500
- Total: £440,000
Qualification for the tournament was determined by the winners of 27 tournaments over a one-year period, from the 2018 Champion of Champions to the 2019 World Open, thereby including tournaments from both the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 snooker seasons. The winners of the first 16 tournaments on the list were guaranteed a place in the championship. The winners of the next tournaments on the list—in the shown order—would take a place in the Champion of Champions, in the event there were players who met multiple qualification criteria. Judd Trump qualified for the event by winning six events, the most of any player.
The championship began on 4 November 2019, with players competing from group four. The first match saw Neil Robertson play 2019 Championship League winner Martin Gould. Robertson defeated Gould 4–0, despite the highest break of the match being just 67. In the other group game, 2019 China Championship winner Shaun Murphy played Reanne Evans, the 2019 World Women's Snooker champion. Despite not being on the World Snooker Tour, Evans commented to press prior to the game that whilst it was an honour to play in the competition, there was still a disparity between the men's and women's game.
Murphy took an early lead in the match winning the first three frames. Evans took the next three frames to force a . After Evans went whilst playing a , Murphy made a break of 130 to win the match 4–3. Post-match, Murphy was full of praise for Evans, saying that he genuinely hoped "we see more of Reanne on the main event". Murphy also commented later that the audience were supporting Evans and even his wife was "reluctant to wish [him] good luck today". The group final was held between Murphy and Robertson. Murphy took an early lead, winning the first three frames, before Robertson leveled the match at 3–3 after a break of 100, and breaks over 90. The pair shared the next four frames, with both players experiencing issues with the table . With the score at 5–5, Robertson won the match in frame 11.
The second day saw group three play, with Mark Selby defeating first-time ranking event winner Yan Bingtao 4–0. The 2018 Scottish Open winner Mark Allen defeated the 2019 Indian Open winner Matthew Selt in the other group first round match. The group final saw Allen come from behind at 1–2 to defeat three-time world champion Selby 6–2. Group two featured the reigning world championship winner Judd Trump take on six-red and World Cup winner Stephen Maguire. Trump won the first two frames of the match, with Maguire scoring just four points. Trump won the match, taking all four frames, making three breaks of over 50. The 2019 Snooker Shoot Out winner Thepchaiya Un-Nooh played Kyren Wilson. Un-Nooh won three of the match's first four frames with breaks of 63, 51 and 90, before Wilson made breaks of 102 and 98 to force a deciding frame. Un-Nooh won the deciding frame to progress. The group final was a rematch of the 2019 World Open final, held the week before, between Un-Nooh and Trump. Trump won the first four frames of the match, scoring two centuries. Un-Nooh won frame five before Trump pulled ahead to 5–1. Un-Nooh made breaks of 61 and 66 before Trump won frame nine to win 6–3.
The final group saw world number three Ronnie O'Sullivan play 2019 World Seniors Championship winner Jimmy White. The latter won the first three frames of the match, before O'Sullivan won the next two frames. White suffered a during frame six, where he could have won the match, allowing O'Sullivan to force a deciding frame, which he won. The final first round match saw two former world champions meet, as John Higgins defeated Stuart Bingham. The group final featured O'Sullivan defeating Higgins 6–3.
The semi-finals were played as best-of-11-frames matches. The first semi-final was held on 8 November between O'Sullivan and Robertson. The pair had met in two finals of the 2019 Coral Cup series events—the Tour Championship and Players Championship—with O'Sullivan winning on both occasions. The match was even throughout, with no more than one frame separating the pair throughout. Robertson opened a 3–2 lead with a break of 108 in frame five, with O'Sullivan winning three of the next four to lead 5–4. Robertson won frame 10 with a break of 135, the highest of the tournament at that point to force a deciding frame. O'Sullivan gained the first chance of the final frame, but on the . Robertson made a break of 90 to win 6–5. Robertson would later comment that the match was "definitely one of the best matches [he had] been involved in".
The second semi-final was played on 9 November between Allen and Trump. Trump took the first three frames of the match; Allen won the next four frames including the event's highest break of 140 to lead 4–3. Trump made a break of 86 to tie the match, before winning frame nine after a when potting a . Trump won the match in frame 10 after a break of 98.
The final was played as a best-of-19-frames match over two sessions on 10 November between Trump and Robertson. The final was refereed by Desislava Bozhilova. Robertson won the first two frames of the match and led 3–1 including a break of 112 in frame two. In frames six to eight, Trump made three successive centuries totalling 367 points without reply to take the lead. Breaks of 96 and 111 gave Robertson the next two frames and lead 5–4 between sessions.
Trump won frame ten, before Robertson re-took the lead with a break of 104. Trump took the next two frames to lead once again, and held it until Robertson made a break of 135 to tie the match at 8–8. The following frame, Trump required foul shots to win the frame, but succeeded to go ahead. In frame 18, Robertson had to score a to avoid losing the match. He succeeded in getting one, forcing a . He potted the black to level the match at 9–9. In the deciding frame, Robertson made a break of 137 to win the match. The win was Robertson's second championship, having won the event in 2015. Robertson would later comment: "I can't believe the pair of us playing a match like that. It's the best match I've ever been involved in". There was a total of eight century breaks during the final (with five for Robertson) the highest number in a best-of-19-frames match.
|Group semi-finals (Last 16) |
Best of 7 frames
|Group finals (Quarter-finals) |
Best of 11 frames
Best of 11 frames
Best of 19 frames
|Ronnie O'Sullivan (1)||4|
|Ronnie O'Sullivan (1)||6|
|Group 1 (7 November)|
|Ronnie O'Sullivan (1)||5|
|Neil Robertson (4)||6|
|Neil Robertson (4)||4|
|Neil Robertson (4)||6|
|Group 4 (4 November)|
|Neil Robertson (4)||10|
|Judd Trump (2)||9|
|Mark Selby (3)||4|
|Mark Selby (3)||2|
|Group 3 (5 November)|
|Judd Trump (2)||6|
|Judd Trump (2)||4|
|Judd Trump (2)||6|
|Group 2 (6 November)|
|Final: Best of 19 frames. Referee: Desislava Bozhilova.|
Ricoh Arena, Coventry, England, 10 November 2019.
|Neil Robertson (4)
|10–9||Judd Trump (2)|
|Afternoon: 69–47, 112–0 (112), 8–86 (86), 71–50 (56), 0–121 (121), 0–127 (127), 0–119 (119), 96–0 (96), 124–0 (111) |
Evening: 36–75, 104–0 (104), 58–70, 7–84 (84), 91–36 (81), 41–75 (62), 135–0 (135), 60–62, 76–69 (Trump 69)[a], 137–0 (137)
- Robertson won the frame on a re-spotted black.
A total of 20 were made during the competition. Mark Allen made the highest break of the tournament, a 140 in the semi-finals.
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