Premier League (week 8) - Ding takes down Rocket

14:38:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Ding Junhui secures a place in the play-offs
The current Masters champion, Ding Junhui managed to defeat the 2010 world champion, Neil Robertson 3-2 and to hammer the three-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan 3-1 in order to win week eight of the Premier League snooker competition.

After winning week six of cue action, his victims being Jimmy White whom he beat 3-2 and Ali Carter whom he defeated 3-1, Ding moves to the top of the provisional rankings with no more than 16 points; points that have secured him a place in the final stages of this competition.

But first things first - the first semi-final of the evening was the one where Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump were the main characters. It was a long waited clash of styles and it was really no surprise why the lads ended up consuming all the frames in the process.

Trump, happy about his wonderful 139 break
Trump was the one who broke the ice with a spectacular 139 break (break that will remain the highest of the evening), but his opponent managed to draw level by using a 53. Still, to draw level wasn't enough. Especially if your name is O'Sullivan, so a break of 89 was bringing him the lead of the match (2-1).

The battle of cues entered into the "shoot-out" zone after Judd hit a 58 break that would level the match at 2-2. The shot clock was set and the boys started to play. But something went wrong from the beginning, for Trump that is, who fouled and so his opponent got ball in hand. O'Sullivan made a perfect 70 break from that point on, break that was sending him in the final.

A few minutes later the second semi-final was ready for take off. Neil Robertson and Ding Junhui were the players in charge and since both of them had 10 points in their pockets, the situation required a victory in order to break the balance.

Unfortunately it wasn't Robbo's day
Although the match had a pretty scrappy start, the lads began to warm up a bit from the second one on. They warmed up so much, that they played all the possible frames. 
Ding used runs of 36 and 61 to go 2-0 up, but Robertson didn't give up so easily and with a series of 66 and 55 he forced the decider.

The Chinese player started with a break of 42 but unfortunately snookered himself and had to allow his opponent a shot at the table. Fortunately for him, Robbo got a tremendous kick as he was just starting his break and so Ding returned to close with a 58. He was in the final.

Here we were: the defending champion and the "Chinese Sensation" put face to face.
O'Sullivan opened the fight with a great 77, but Ding was careful enough as to hit back in runs of 37 and 30 and levelled the match at 1-1.
The third frame seemed like it was going to be cashed by the Rocket, when an unexpected missed yellow, as the scoreline was 54-41, stopped his run. Ding came to clear with a 27 and took the lead 2-1.

O'Sullivan reached the final, but that yellow ... that yellow!
The last frame saw O'Sullivan losing position at 17 and Ding taking full advantage of it. And by advantage I mean a great 76 break that froze the scoreline at 3-1 and brought the little Chinese player a well deserved victory of 3-1.

So, after eight weeks of travelling high and low the country, Ding Junhui stands as the first man through the play-offs with 16 points in his pocket, followed by Judd Trump with 14 points, Neil Robertson and Ronnie O'Sullivan with 12 points each and Matthew Stevens, Mark Williams and Ali Carter with 9. Shaun Murphy is occupying the fifth place with 7 points, John Higgins has only 5, while Jimmy White is on last place with 2 lonely points.

The next stop for the Premier League snooker caravan will be made on November 10 in Banbury, where John Higgins will face Ali Carter and Mark Williams will take on his fellow-country, Matthew Stevens.