UK Snooker Championship: Ding Junhui’s run comes to end

York Press: Ding Junhui Ding Junhui

DING JUNHUI’S dominant spell in snooker came to a dramatic end at the UK Championship.

The Chinese superstar, who had won his previous 22 matches in ranking events, missed a sitter of a pink, when trailing 5-4, to take his last-16 clash with Ricky Walden into a deciding frame.

Walden thought the shot was such a certainty he slumped in his chair waiting for the inevitable.

But Ding winner of the last three major events, struck a horrible shot which never looked like finding its target and came to rest by the middle pocket for Walden to gratefully tap home and bag a 6-4 success.

“I was ready for the decider thinking, ‘I can’t believe I have messed this one up’,” Walden said. “I got a bit of luck there. It evens itself up sometimes and that was my day.”

Walden had jumped into a 3-1 lead only for Ding to fight back with breaks of 76 and 119. The Cheshire potter regained his two-frame lead but Ding struck a sumptuous 135 to trail by the one frame.

“My cue action wasn’t right,” said Ding of the pivotal shot. “It turned in my hands, but the match was not good. It’s so difficult to beat Ricky. Every frame he scores so heavily. He doesn’t leave any long pots and he has good safety.”

Walden reached the semi-finals at York two years ago and got to the same stage in the World Championship earlier this year.

He reckons the longer he can last in a major event, the better he plays.

“As long as I can stay in the tournament I have got a chance of doing even better in the next round,” Walden added.

“That’s how my game goes. Obviously Ding is the man in form at the moment and it is great to notch a victory over him.

“They are the matches you have got to win to step up the ladder and he’s been top of the ladder for the last couple of months.”

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