Free tip World Snooker Quarter-Final: Ding Junhui v Mark Williams (10am, Tuesday)
Back to form Ding can account for waining Williams
‘First Four Frames’ Ding Junhui to win 7/5 Paddy Power
When Ding Junhui announced “They don’t want to play me, it doesn’t matter who I play” after winning his third and final qualifying match for the World Snooker Championships many thought the Chinese player was simply riding the crest of an emotional wave.
But his confidence and bold statement was warranted. A 10-4 drubbing of Greg Casey in his opening qualifying match (where the Chinese player scored seven 50+ breaks) was followed by ten consecutive winning frames against Ross Muir and then a 10-2 demonstration of snooker against Nigel Bond
In the competition proper Ding was tenacious against Martin Gould, squandering a 4-1 lead he fought back from 8-6 down to win 10-frames-to-8. Against Judd Trump, Ding was never behind at any stage and held a four frame advantage for much of the contest.
It certainly looks like the 29-year-old is back to his brilliant 2013/14 best when he won five of that season’s 12 ranking tournaments (he played only 11) and made an additional final table (in that year’s Welsh Open).
On Tuesday morning Ding Junhui faces Mark Williams’ in the quarter finals of the Snooker World Championships. Williams best season was 13 years ago (2002/2003 season) when he became World Champion for a second time and also won the UK Championship. His last major victory was five years ago, when claiming the German Masters.
And, as opposed to Ding Junhui who has had to beat two top-16 ranked rivals to reach the quarter-final stage, Williams has prevailed over the non-seeded rivals Graeme Dott and Michael Holt. But a lack of meaningful recent results is not the only reason to oppose the Welshman. Mark Williams has not beaten Ding Junhui since 2010, losing all seven meetings and winning just 13 frames to Ding’s 31 in the process.
Ding can win the race to four
In their last four meetings Junhui was leading the scores after four frames had been played, just as he was against Martin Gould and all three of his qualifying round opponents in this competition.
And so, while Ladbrokes top-price of 4/9 about Ding Junhui being the first player to score 13 frames and progress to the semi-final looks something of a good thing, speculating he can race to a 4-0 or 3-1 score-line against Mark Williams looks a better proposition at Paddy Power’s 7/5.