China’s top player Ding has 11 ranking titles to his name but a surprisingly poor record in snooker’s biggest event, having reached the semi-finals just once – in 2011 – and suffered six defeats in the first and second rounds. The world number three looked likely to suffer another early exit when he trailed four-time champion Higgins 5-1 in the early stages, but he hit back to win 12 of the next 16 frames to score one of his best Crucible wins, 13-9 over John Higgins.
“Hopefully I’m going to win the tournament,” said Ding. “I believe I can win any tournament, it just takes time. I’m playing well, I keep scoring heavily and I’m winning some of the big frames. When I was 5-1 down I just thought about getting one frame back at a time. It’s a long match and I can’t fully focus in every frame, every ball, but I played a lot of great frames.”
Bristol’s Trump built a 10-6 lead in the first two sessions with top breaks of 75, 80, 66, 111 and 75. Hong Kong’s Fu pulled one back in the first frame of the final session with a 94 but left-hander Trump took the next two with a top run of 59. Frame 20 went to Fu for 12-8, but in the first frame after the mid-session interval, Trump completed victory in style with a 133 total clearance, delighting the Crucible crowd with a few exhibition shots at the end of the break.
“My game is there, if I continue to play like that I’ll be tough to beat,” said the 25-year-old. “I’m very happy with how I’m playing and my appetite to win is as strong as anyone’s, though you always need a bit of luck to win tournaments.”
“Ding has played ok, although maybe his opponents have made him look good. We will both be confident. We had a great game in 2011, both scoring heavily.”
“We’re both older now and more mature but it will be tough to play to that standard again, back then we were young and fearless. Maybe this time it will be a bit tighter, a bit edgier. Whoever wants it the most will win.”
H2H: Ding 6-5
Prediction: Trump to advance.
Betting perspectives: Trump@1.5 & 147 break in match@21 at
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