Premier League 2011 - the play-offs

17:34:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

A year has passed since Ronnie O'Sullivan captured his ninth Premier League title and now we are going back to base. This means that the semi-finals and the grand final will kick off this weekend with four players eager to get their hands on that shiny trophy. Who will succeed? Well, we'll just have to wait and see.

The first semi-final is featuring the names of Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Williams. What a fine pair, don't you think?
Needless to say that O'Sullivan's made for this type of format. He collected no more than 18 points, which have put him at the top of the ranking Premier League system. It's true that he didn't have a pretty start, his first match against Shaun Murphy being lost 3-2, but he recovered soon after.

Week four found him taking down Matthew Stevens 3-0 and Ali Carter 3-1, week eight saw the "Rocket" closing on a tight 3-2 the semi-final against Judd Trump, but getting hammered by Ding Junhui 3-1, while week 10 was spread with a perfect 3-0 over his good old friend Jimmy White and a 3-1 in front of Shaun Murphy.
It surely was a bumpy road, but from the man who's defending his crown and has nine more at home ... well, I guess we can forgive him for not winning all his battles of cues, right?

O'Sullivan is facing Williams
His opponent, Mark Williams qualified last for the play-offs with only 13 points. Now, don't get me wrong, for those points were earned fair and square and the Welshman deserved a place in the final stages, only that well ... his run surely didn't do him any justice.

He began his Premier League journey with the right foot by winning week two (3-0 with Jimmy White and 3-1 against Shaun Murphy), but after that he lost week's five semi-final 3-1 with Judd Trump, week's six semi-final 3-2 with Ali Carter, while during week nine, although he crashed his fellow-country Matthew Stevens 3-0 in the semis, got beat 3-1 by the current world champion, John Higgins 3-1.
As you can see his nickname - The Welsh Potting Machine - hasn’t popped out yet and take charge, but we all know Williams and when he's in the mood, he is in the mood! So you might just see the lad trying to provoke quite the upset here. And succeeding it.

The second semi-final is putting China's Ding Junhui and Bristol's Judd Trump face to face. The player that has the most famous "Poker face" each time that plays and the "Ace" will fight for a place in Sunday's grand final.

On 22nd of September, Ding was reaching the final of week's three of cue action. Sadly for him he was going to lose. After a great match with Shaun Murphy, match that ended 3-2 in his favour, Ding took on the 2010 world champion, Neil Robertson. By being in absolutely brilliant form, Neil kneed Ding down by 3-1. Not a very promising start for the little Chinese.
And if you are to remember week four, then you will definitely recall that he got knock down in the semis by Ali Carter 3-0. This was getting worse by the week.

Ding and Judd, face to face
But then it happened: the comeback. With a 3-2 against Jimmy White and a 3-1 over Ali Carter, Ding Junhui was winning week six of the Premier League. But he didn't stop there. No, sir. 

He also won week eight, when he beat Neil Robertson 3-2 (payback time) and the one and only Ronnie O'Sullivan 3-1.
If Ding is to put this form into action tomorrow night, he will definitely stand a chance in the race for the big final.

And now, we have young master Judd Trump. We all know the lad. He doesn't need any praise or fancy introductions. He's capable of taking down every player in the circuit and he has proven so in the last year.
The boy from Bristol started his race with two beautiful victories: the first happened during week 5, (when he beat Mark Williams 3-1 and Matthew Stevens 3-0) and the second during week seven (when he hammered Ali Carter 3-1, but also Neil Robertson).

And yet for every little thing, there's also an opposite side. So after two great achievements, came two big loses. First during week eight, when he lost 3-2 to Ronnie O'Sullivan and second during the very last week when he was whitewashed 3-0 by Shaun Murphy. 
Stuff like this happen, but taking into account that he loves to play and finds great pleasure in the "shot-clock", he is definitely the man I will be keeping an eye on for the rest of this competition.

So, without any further ado, here's Saturday Premier League match schedule with a tiny mention: the semis are first to five.
According to SkySports 4 programme, the action is to start at 7:30pm (UK time).

SF 1: Ronnie O'Sullivan v. Mark Williams
SF 2: Ding Junhui v. Judd Trump
*all hours are UK time