Friday 24 November 2017

Ding Junhui in control as Ronnie O'Sullivan left needing big comeback to stay in World Championship

England's Ronnie O'Sullivan gestures during the World Championship Snooker quarter-final against China's Ding Junhui at The Crucible in Sheffield, northern England on April 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS
England's Ronnie O'Sullivan gestures during the World Championship Snooker quarter-final against China's Ding Junhui at The Crucible in Sheffield, northern England on April 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS

Ding Junhui produced a sparkling display at the Crucible to lead Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-6 in their Betfred World Championship quarter-final.

Every frame of the morning saw a break of 50 or more, Ding taking a 3-0 lead before O'Sullivan levelled the session at 4-4, but the Chinese player pulled ahead in the evening session.

Ding took frame one with a 71 break and followed that up with a magnificent 128 clearance to double his advantage. It got better for the world number four as another run of 71 put him further ahead, with O'Sullivan barely getting to the table.

But the 41-year-old hit back with a 63 to finally get on the scoreboard before the mid-session interval and took the next two after the restart with runs of 99 and 65 to level the match.

Ding scraped the next on a respotted black despite a 69 break from the five-time champion, who finished off with a run of 59 to restore parity.

The pattern continued into the evening as Ding returned with a frame-winning 63 clearance in frame nine.

O'Sullivan came from behind to win the next but was unable to repeat the dose in frame 11 after over-running a positional shot to the black.

Ding took that one and made it 7-5 at the interval. He then resumed with a 120 break and went on to stretch his lead to 10-5 with a 58 in frame 15.

O'Sullivan, though, produced a defiant rapid-fire 104 in the final frame to give himself a chance.

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