The second session of Ronnie versus Ding last 16 match followed the same pattern as the first. Misjudged safeties from Ronnie and an unexpected miss gave Ding the opportunity to win the first mini session by 3-1. Just like yesterday, after they resumed, Ronnie managed to win three frames on the trot to lead by 8-7. Ding took the last of the session after Ronnie missed a couple of long pots.
Again the feeling was that Ding was the better player out there. Ronnie appeared very frustrated at times, by his own mistakes or by the conditions, or by both.
Regarding the conditions, Stephen Hendry in commentary reflected that the table was playing very heavy, and that finger marks on the cloth were a sign that the cloth was damp despite the heating. The table was slow, but the cushions were bouncy. It’s a bad combination. Both Ding and Ronnie are touch players, they don’t like to have to hit the balls hard and they tend to lose accuracy when they are forced to do so. Both missed a few long ones at speed by some margin. Also, whatever side they put in their shots, it takes on differently depending on the state of the cloth.
Ding however seems better than Ronnie at keeping his negative emotions in check.
Tomorrow morning the tables will be reclothed, or mabe it’s just the cushions, I’m not sure. Hopefully the table will play a bit better.
What will happen in the last session is hard to predict. From what I’ve seen so far I have to make Ding slightly favourite… I hope to be wrong.
Here are the numbers:
Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui are tied at 8-8 going into the final session of their Betfred World Championship second round clash.
Having started the second session at 4-4, the pair shared the eight frames again, leaving the match perfectly poised. They return at 7pm on Sunday with first to 13 frames to go through to the quarter-finals to face Mark Williams.
O’Sullivan is targeting his sixth world title, though he hasn’t been past the quarter-finals since he lost to Mark Selby in the 2014 final. China’s Ding is aiming to become the first Asian winner; the closest he has come was runner-up spot to Selby in 2016.
A scrappy opening frame today went O’Sullivan’s way, then Ding hit back with breaks of 64, 118 and 101 to lead 7-5. The high scoring continued after the interval as O’Sullivan turned the tide in his own favour with 90, 89 and 73 to take three frames within 35 minutes. In the last of the session, Ding made 41 and 53 to restore parity.