David Grace's INCREDIBLE Snooker On Jamie O'Neill | 2022 Cazoo British Open Qualifiers

Ding Ends Gould Run

Ding2China’s Ding Junhui is through to the last 16 of the Betfred World Championship after he came back from behind to knock out the 12th seed Martin Gould in a high-quality encounter.

The world number 17 had to qualify for the tournament for the first time since 2007 and was widely regarded as one of the qualifiers to avoid in the first round draw. He has slipped down the rankings following his victories at a record-equalling five ranking events during the 2013/14 season, however has shown signs of a return to form in recent months.

Defeat for Gould means that he becomes the sixth seeded player to exit this year’s tournament in the first round, with two matches still to conclude on Thursday.

The world number 12 faced early pressure in the match as Ding raced into a 4-1 lead with breaks of 90, 110, 54 and 87. Gould however, winner of his first full-ranking event at the German Masters in Berlin back in February, closed to within a frame by the end of the first session and quickly drew level at 5-5 after Ding missed the final blue when attempting to clear at the start of the evening.

The following two frames were shared, before Gould moved into the lead for the first time in the match with a break of 96. In frame 14, Ding looked well-placed to draw level again, but a failed attempt to escape from a snooker on the last red allowed Gould to win his fourth frame from five to lead 8-6.

Ding1From there however, Ding was to produce some of his best snooker, breaks of 65 and 132 enough to bring the Chinese number one back to 8-8, before he added runs of 86 and 100 to move one away from the victory at 9-8.

Frame 18 would prove to be more closely contested and for a while it appeared as though Gould was going to force the second decider of the week. An excellent pot on the final red from Ding though proved to be the crucial shot, a clenched fist as the pink dropped a rare show of emotion from the 2011 Crucible semi-finalist.

“I played quite good at the start,” said 29-year-old Ding. “I made a few breaks to lead 4-1 and after he played better and fought back to put some pressure on me. He produced a good performance today also.

“Tonight I had a chance to go 7-7 and I lost that frame, but I tried not to think about that. Afterwards I thought to myself to go for everything, take the first chances that I got.

“I am feeling good. Terry (Griffiths) is doing a very good job to me. He is telling me to try and make things easy because the World Championship is a long tournament.”

Gould

Gould said: “It was an ebb and flow match. I let him off the hook a couple of times early on, because I wasn’t here last year, it took me a little while to get settled

“From 4-1 down I let my arm go a bit, and just started potting a few, I made the century break. some of the balls I potted were just ridiculous, it was one of those where I let out a bit of frustration and showed the people of Sheffield know that I can pot a few balls”

“I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the evening session, winning three out of the four frames, but later I played one or two lazy safety shots, and got punished for them when I should have gone 9-7 up.

“In fairness I think the best man won, but all in all I’m delighted with how the match has gone, and how the whole season has gone. I’ve broken back into the top 16, pushing to the top eight, I won a ranking event, and got to the final of another. I’ve been in the mix in most of the events, but I’m human, I will lose the odd snooker game. I wish I could win every match!

“I’ve always said that Ding is capable of winning this tournament. The few times I’ve played him in China I’ve told the Chinese press to lay off him, he’s proven what he can do. If he keeps playing like that then he’s got a good chance of winning the trophy.”

Ding will now meet either Judd Trump or Liang Wenbo in the last 16, with that match currently poised at 6-3 to Liang overnight. Ding had played both players at the Crucible previously, defeating Liang Wenbo 10-8 back in 2009 and losing to Trump in both 2011 and in last year’s quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Kyren Wilson came back from 4-2 down to lead Joe Perry 5-4 overnight. Perry began strongly with breaks of 87 and 63, before Wilson got off the mark with a clearance of 130, his first Crucible century.

The pair shared the following four frames, before Wilson potted 12 reds and 11 blacks as he looked to make only the 11th maximum break in Crucible history, only to miss the following black. A break of 61 in the ninth frame however ensured that this season’s Shanghai Masters champion would take a lead into their final session tomorrow evening.