Snooker - Ding continues title bid by ousting King

Ding Junhui continued his quest to become China's first world champion with a 13-9 win over Mark King in the second round at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre.

Eurosport
Snooker - Ding wins third title on the bounce
.

View photo

Ding Junhui

Qualifier King did well to keep pace with the former Masters and UK champion, but never quite produced the level of form that had accounted for the world number Mark Allen in the first round.

"I will win here one day. Maybe that is this time," said Ding. "I was not happy with the way the first session went. I was playing some bad shots. I just had to make sure that I concentrated really hard the second time. I felt stronger and angrier before the second session.

"In the first round it came as a big surprise to me that all these big name players went out, but to me it is okay. I do not think about how other people are doing. The only thing that I try and concentrate on is my matches.

"I am enjoying it this time. When you are playing badly you have to pick yourself up quickly and get back to winning ways. I am always learning from the matches.

"I approach every game differently just because it always depends on how well your opponent plays. If they are playing well then you need to up your game to put more pressure on them, if they are not playing well then you need to make sure your game is strong so you can take advantage."

Ding's 9-7 overnight lead quickly became 10-7 courtesy of a timely 49 and 69, but King is nothing if not gritty as he scrapped his way to the next two frames to close to within one frame of his match-vaunted opponent to trail 10-9.

The final frame before the mid-session interval was always going to prove pivotal. And Ding won it with a lovely run of 104 - his sixth century of the tournament.

With King starting to wilt, a 98 was good enough to carry Ding to the cusp of the last eight in a 21st frame lasting 28 minutes.

King was first at the table in the 22nd frame, but missing a red on 34 invited Ding to run in 52 before the great Chinese hope put the finishing touches to matters by winning a tactical exchange late in the frame.

Ding's reward is a meeting with Barry Hawkins in the last eight. They start out tomorrow morning at 10am in the first of two sessions of the quarter-finals with the conclusion on Wednesday morning.

"I had some form during the first session and then in the second session he played awesome," said King. "He was on a totally different planet, when he is hitting the ball like that I do not think there is anybody that will be able to get near him, including Ronnie. If I am to get to the top of the game that is how I have got to play. I am so far behind him and it is unbelievable.

"He is a gentleman around the table and most of our tour is in the far East and China. That is all down to people like Ding and I think we have to thank him for what he has done to this game.

"I am gutted not to win but on the whole I did enjoy it. I was down to number 36 at the start of the season and now I am back up to 28 so I am moving back in the right direction."

SECOND SESSION REPORT

Ding Junhui won seven of eight frames as he came from 6-2 down to lead Mark King 9-7 in the World Championship last 16 in Sheffield.

Ding looked out of sorts on Saturday evening at the Crucible, but reeled off the first five frames on Sunday afternoon.

Over the course of the session King drew out a couple of frames despite needing six snookers in a bid to disrupt his opponent. He finally got on the board to level at 7-7, but Ding fired in an 81 and 103 in the final two frames.

The winner on Monday afternoon will play Barry Hawkins, vanquisher of world number one Mark Selby, in the last eight.

Breaks of 59, 98 and 74 in each of the first three frames put Ding within a frame of King, who has reached the last 16 of the World Championship seven times - including this match - but never progressed beyond this stage.

And they were level at the mid-session interval as Ding's form continued, easing one red past another at a key moment - clipping it as it went past.

He was in control of frame 13 too, despite not making a half-century, as Romford potter King played on looking for some form.

Ding had a poor start to the season - he did not get past the second round in any of the first six ranking events - and it would be some story if he could finally go all the way this year.

He was pegged back at 7-7 as King made a 63, but the respite was brief. The 81 clearance was something to behold - and matched by the century that followed to end a brilliant day for China's finest, who is still only 26 and has six rankings win to his name.

FIRST SESSION REPORT

Mark King holds a 6-2 overnight lead against the much fancied Ding Junhui after the opening session of their World Championship second round encounter.

King built a 3-0 lead after pinching the opening two frames and despite the Chinese responding with successive century breaks, the Essex potter was the more assured in the safety department and clinched the final three frames of the day to hold a solid overnight advantage over the 10th seed.

Ding built a substantial lead in the opening frame and looked set to take it, leading by 51 points, when King returned for his second scoring visit and a superb 53 clearance saw him steal the opener.

An opening 40 break from Ding again looked to have given the Chinese the impetus to take the second but an outrageous fluked red set King on his way again and he pinched another courtesy of a 59 break.

Ding seemed rattled by his opponent’s scrapping powers and when his break broke down at 23 in the third, King raced 3-0 clear with his third break in the 50s in succession.

Ding finally found his feet in the fourth, a 107 break getting him on the board, and a superb cut on the green kept Ding’s frame winning break alive in the next after King missed a risky black to the middle and he pulled another back with a second successive century, this a 106.

A bizarre sixth frame followed. King fouled the pink moving the rest back when in prime position around the business end of the table and was lucky not to leave anything on. A protracted safety battle ensued before an amusing incident brought smiles all around. Deep in trouble behind the yellow and with reds everywhere, King crossed himself before launching a hit and hope that somehow missed everything apart from the blue. Even more amazingly, he succeeded in landing safe on his repeat effort and it proved the fortune he needed to once again go two clear at 4-2 with a 57 break.

A protracted penultimate fame followed, both players missing numerous chances before King finally put it to bed. And King got the better of another long safety battle in the final frame of the evening with a 53 break after a seemingly frustrated Ding missed a hugely optimistic plant.

View comments (1)