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In 2021, Daniel Wells was cleaning toilets after leaving professional snooker to work for his mother’s business. Less than two years later, and the Welshman can now reflect on fighting back to sensationally beat former world champion Judd Trump in front of a home crowd.
All seemed to be going to script in the Welsh Open third round clash, as world No 5 Trump sped into a 2-0 lead against the Neath-born player. But the Englishman then missed a simple black to take the third, and the tide turned.
Wells took advantage to reduce the deficit and after levelling the match, racked up a 101 break to lead 3-2. And he secured a famous win for himself by taking the next frame, winning through to face Shaun Murphy that same afternoon.
Another big upset proved beyond him though. ‘The Magician’ lived up to his billing in Llandudno, notching a maximum 147 as well as breaks of 145, 78 and 66 to secure a 4-1 win. But Wells, who reached the semi finals of the Shoot Out in Leicestershire last month, was still able to laud his own efforts, and new found mentality.
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“When I was off the tour and cleaning toilets, no one was paying my bills,” he told World Snooker, as quoted by the BBC. “It was a shock to me, I realised I have to be more gritty and not give other players too much respect. They are all human and if you put anyone under enough pressure they will crack.”
After first qualifying for the main tour in 2008, Wells reached a career high ranking of world No 52 shortly before the Covid pandemic in March 2020. Prior to facing Trump, he’d beaten Matthew Selt 4-1 and his third round appearance equalled his best display at the Welsh Open.
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Murphy will now face Chinese player Yuan Sijun at midday on Friday. The man who returned to the sport from gastric sleeve surgery last year won the same event in 2020 when it took place in Cardiff, his last tournament success.
For Trump, the surprise defeat halts his strong second half of the 2022/23 season. Last month, he beat Mark Williams to win the Masters, before losing 10-9 to Mark Allen in the final of the 2023 World Grand Prix.
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