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Ding suffers opening round defeat at Snooker Masters

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-01-14 10:25
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LONDON - China's top snooker player Ding Junhui lost to six-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan 6-5 in the opening round of the Snooker Masters on Wednesday.

Ding, 33, led the match 5-3 with two breaks above 120. However, the world number nine failed to response to a resurgent O'Sullivan in the following three frames.

"It was nice to make a bit of a game of it," the seven-time Masters winner told the World Snooker Tour website. "I played well and didn't do a lot wrong. Ding played strongly, I'm just pleased to get over the line."

Ding, who won the prestigious invitation event in 2011, believed he had good chances to win the match but did not take them. The Chinese was also knocked out in the tournament's opening round last year, going down 6-3 to Joe Perry.

O'Sullivan's next opponent is John Higgins, who beat Mark Allen 6-5 later on Wednesday.

This year's Masters opened in Milton Keynes, England on Sunday. This the first year the tournament has been held outside London, as organisers were forced to make the change due to COVID-19 restrictions.

World number one Judd Trump and the 14th-placed Jack Lisowski both withdrew from the tournament after having tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of their matches.

Elsewhere, Chinese hopeful Yan Bingtao came from behind to edge Australian ace Neil Robertson 6-5, reaching the quarterfinals on Tuesday. The 20-year-old Masters debutant will fight for a semifinal berth against Stephen Maguire, who saw off three-time world champion Mark Selby.

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