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Ding beats Trump to meet O'Sullivan in UK Snooker Championship final

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-12-04 09:46
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LONDON -- China's snooker legend Ding Junhui overpowered British talent Judd Trump 6-4 in the UK Championship semifinal in York on Saturday and will meet his old rival Ronnie O'Sullivan in Sunday's final.

This is the fifth time for the 36-year-old Ding to reach the UK Championship final, in which he won three times before (2005,2009,2019).

In the breathtaking semifinal, Ding stopped in-form Trump, who was dubbed as the player of the season with three consecutive titles at the English Open, Wuhan Open and Northern Ireland Open and the runner-up at the recent Champion of Champions.

The best-of-11 tie witnessed the first four frames shared, before Trump burst into life with a fine break of 124 to take the lead at 3-2.

Ding controlled the sixth to restore parity and a century run of 110 saw him lead 4-3. Trump hit back with 105 to draw level once more, but it was Ding who edged towards the finish line with a fine break of 88 to lead 5-4.

The tenth frame saw Trump have the first significant contribution, but just as he looked set to force a decider he missed an unexpected red to the middle on 31. Ding stepped up with a match winning 84 to secure his berth in the final.

"I have the feeling here (in York) that I can play well. It started in 2005," said Ding after the duel. "I'm happy to see myself get back into form like this. Normally I don't fight like this in a tough match. I did well today."

"It is great to play Ronnie in the final. We haven't had that many chances to face each other. The Chinese fans especially love to see it. This is what I dream of, he was my hero when I was a little boy," Ding added.

It will be the first final between Ding and O'Sullivan since the 2018 World Grand Prix, when the Rocket prevailed 10-3. However, Ding won their most recent meeting at last year's UK Championship, storming to a 6-0 victory.

Trump said after the semifinal, "I don't feel like I played particularly well in the whole tournament. I was just scraping through and relying on my opponent missing. Ding didn't really miss anything easy throughout the whole game. "

The final will be played in a best-of-19 format.

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