Judd Trump has hailed the amazing talents and achievements of World Snooker Championship opponent Yan Bingtao, and feels the empty Crucible will play into the youngster’s hands more than his own.
The defending champion takes on the 20-year-old in the last 16 in Sheffield after Trump edged out Tom Ford and Yan eventually saw off Elliot Slessor in round one.
The young Chinese has enjoyed a meteoric rise up the ranks and come into the World Championship as a seeded player at number 16 in the rankings, thanks to winning the Riga Masters and reaching the Players Championship final, where he faced Trump.
The world number one handily beat Yan 10-4 in that clash, and has won all five of their encounters, but he is still wary of the threat he poses.
‘He’s done amazing, I think. He’s been in a lot of big tournaments, big finals, won an event, which is amazing for his age,’ Trump told Eurosport.
‘It normally takes players a lot longer to get through in this era, there’s a lot of 40-something-year-olds.
‘He’s very consistent and very mature beyond his years, I think.’
It’s not the first time Trump has hailed the breakthrough star, saying he is up to a decade ahead of his contemporaries.
‘He’s certainly doing much better than anyone else for his age, he’s probably five or 10 years ahead of anyone,’ said Trump earlier this season.
‘If he can keep progressing the way he is, he looks like he wants to learn, he’s taking everything in, enjoying himself out there and he looks like he practices very hard so I think over the next couple of years he’ll really break through and win some big events.’
Despite clearly being the superior player, Judd does believe that the lack of crowd does remove pressure on the younger, less experienced players, which should give Yan more of an advantage than the defending champ.
However, Yan certainly looked uncomfortable enough in his first round tie, as he lost five frames on the spin to Slessor, before eventually getting over the line.
‘It’s so different for everyone, but it’s still going to be pressure out there, it’s still such a special arena, a special atmosphere, the Crucible is so different to every other event and I’m sure everyone else feels the same,’ said Trump.
‘It’s exciting to be here, it’s still going to be difficult but it perhaps gives the lower-ranked players, the inexperienced players a little bit of a better chance.’
Trump and Yan begin on Thursday afternoon before sessions on Friday morning and evening.
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