While John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan were locking horns last night in their extraordinary semi-final, Ding Junhui had his feet up in his hotel room and the ferociously talented Chinese potter enters today’s Pukka Pies UK Championship final refreshed and ready to land the title for a second time.

Ding, the 2005 UK champion, has reached the final off the back of three good wins over last year’s winner Shaun Murphy, Ali Carter and Stephen Maguire. He is appearing in a second successive ranking tournament final following his run in the Grand Prix two months ago and has been highly focused and highly effective throughout the week in Telford.

In the balls, he is as good a break builder as O’Sullivan and Higgins. He’s a heavy scorer with more than 150 centuries to his name after only six years on the circuit.

Ding seems to have rediscovered the self belief he lost off the back of demoralising defeats to O’Sullivan in the 2007 Masters final and in the first round of that year’s World Championship.

He has played Higgins nine times but only beaten him twice. Even so, the Scot still has to come down from the amazing drama of his semi-final.

Higgins led O’Sullivan 8-2 but lost six frames on the spin in what threatened to become the most disappointing result of his long and distinguished career.

In the end, he fell over the winning line in a nervy decider and he needs to somehow pick himself back up and concentrate on today’s best of 19 frames clash.

That is easier said than done, which is why Ding needs to hit him early and do some damage in the first session.

If he can get on top and carry a good lead into the evening it will be hard to see him losing.

Ding’s upturn in fortunes has been a long time coming. He has exhibited mental strength and played extremely well in high pressure situations just to get this far.

A second UK title is within his grasp if he keeps believing.


Anonymous said...

i am looking forward to a good clean battle between two sporting gentlemen of the game.


Matt said...

Not at all surprised at Ding's renaissance to be honest. Like you said at the time, I felt that his victory over Liang Wenbo at the Crucible and his subsequent performance in going down to Stephen Hendry in the next round were massive for him. Good to see him carry it on, seems to have got his fight back.

stuartfanning said...

Unless another 'incident' occurs Higgins will win this match easily.

Tom Gurden said...

"In the balls, he is as good a break builder as O’Sullivan and Higgins"
A bold and very untrue statement if ever I heard one!!!

Anonymous said...

i agree tom. ding is better than ron when in the balls

at least he is better at not accidentally touching them :)

Dana said...

anonymous,you're a little bit embarrassing with your opinion that Ron is a cheater, do you know it?

Tom Gurden said...

actually anon if you read it properly I was
quoting dave's statement of ding being
as good as O'sullivan/higgins in the balls.
I am of the opinion that he is nowhere
near as good as them at breakbuilding!

Dana said...

we have nice proverb in our country,anonymous - "I judge you according to me" - it means that we know what would you do in this case :-DDD

Anonymous said...

Cheating has hit snooker once again.

Ronnie tried to cheat his way into the final. I'm so glad the fair player won!

Dana said...

yes anonymous, we know that you would cheat in this case, you don't need repeat it more and more :-DDD

Anonymous said...

I see the internet trolls are on again Ronnie bashing. If it's not Ronnie there having a go at it's Selby very sad trolls...

Greg said...

By far the funniest quote of the week came from Joe Johnson this afternoon while commentating for EuroSport.

"I do still practice a couple of hours a day. Of course I only practice safety, in anticipation of the Black Ball World Championships."

kimball said...

To be in competition with the two
best breakbuilders in the world is
good enough for the modest Panda-boy.

Anonymous said...

Dana i am one of the anonymouses.
i am sure dave can confirm there are different posters on here with a "negative view" on things and not just one person keeping on replying to you (and others) about it.

Anonymous said...

The brown in the 15th frame was the easiest ball i've ever seen higgins miss - unreal

Dana said...

Sorry, anonymous, I can't differentiate you :-DDD is it so difficult for you to put below your name to be able to differentiate you?