The last of the “qualifying groups”, Group 7, concluded yesterday. John Higgins booked the last available place available in the winners’s Group that starts today.
Higgins Into Winners’ Group
John Higgins won Group 7 of the 2022 BetVictor Championship League Snooker Invitational, beating Ding Junhui 3-2 in the group final at the Morningside Arena, Leicester live on FreeSports in the UK and broadcasters worldwide.
Higgins reached the final by overcoming defending champion Kyren Wilson 3-1 at the semi-final stage. Wilson had gone 1-0 in front, but Higgins hit back with breaks of 62 and 77 to seal it. Ding beat Ali Carter 3-2 to set up a group final with Higgins.
Higgins took the opening frame with his seventh century of the group (134) but Ding hit back with a century of his own in a high-quality affair. The third frame was scrappier as Higgins went 2-1 up, but Ding weighed in with another heavy break of 131 to force a decider. It came down to the colours, and Higgins cleared from yellow to pink for victory.
“It was a good game in patches but in the end, we were both a bit edgy,” said four-time World Champion Higgins. “It’s brilliant to come down and win this group.”
The Wizard of Wishaw joins Graeme Dott, Liang Wenbo, Zhao Xintong, Yan Bingtao, Stuart Bingham and Scott Donaldson in action in the Winners’ Group which runs on Thursday and Friday, with the champion to be crowned on Friday evening.
Here are the results:
John Higgins beat Ding Junhui by 3-2 in the final.
Ronnie entered the tournament in this group and got off to a miserable start: he lost his two first matches by 3-0. His concentration was all over the place and he made a lot a mistakes. He improved afterwards: all four remaining matches ended on a 3-2 score, with two wins and two desfeats for him. He actually played well yesterday, but it was obvious that this was more “paid practice” than a genuine effort to qualify for the Winners’ Group. In a way, it’s not really surprising: Ronnie was the only one in Group 7 who has already qualified for next season’s Champion of Champions so he didn’t have that incentive.
Those are three of the Ronnie matches shared by Matchroom on their YouTube channel:
Day 1: Ronnie 3-2 Ricky Walden
Day 2: Ronnie 3-2 Ding Junhui
Day 2: Ronnie 2-3 Ali Carter
Note that, at the start of this last match, Ronnie knew that, no matter the result, he had no chance to qualify for the play-offs because of the “frame difference”. The damage had been done during the first session of the event.
Regarding this first session, it’s worth noting that table one was running off terribly, which means that players had no trust in the table. Ricky Walden paid a high price for it: during his match against John Higgins, Ricky lost the fourth frame, and the match, on the three-miss rule. He was trying to play a red thin, he missed it twice. Because he could see a red plain ball he was warned on his third attempt. He tried to nestled into the pack, aiming at a red, just below the pink. The table rolled off, the white drifted really badly and hit the pink at the third attempt. Match over.