Ding Eyes £1 Million Bonus
Ding Junhui refused to rule out the possibility of scooping a £1 million Home Nations bonus, after defeating Mitchell Mann 4-0 in round one of the Coral English Open in Manchester.
The recent Shanghai Masters Champion wasted little time in securing the win. After stealing the second frame on the black to go 2-0 up, Ding took complete control. He made runs of 44 and 53 in the final two frames and completed the rout in just over an hour.
Afterwards the Chinese superstar talked up his chances of securing the big money bonus that awaits any player who can win all four Home Nations events.
Ding remarked: “I think I could do it. Nobody knows what could happen, it could be like the year I won five ranking events. It is a chance for a player to make history.”
Stuart Bingham had looked set for an early exit, but came back to defeat Robert Milkins in a 4-3 thriller. Milkins set the early pace, breaks of 67 and 64 helped him move to the verge of victory with a 3-1 lead. However, Bingham hit back with a run of 78 in the next and the sixth frame produced unbelievable drama.
The 40-year-old Milkins had the match at his mercy, when he faced a straightforward green to the middle, whilst leading by 27 points with just 25 left on the table. He missed, and Bingham got the snooker he needed to force his way back into contention. Milkins’ misery was compounded when he went in off on the black to hand a decider to Bingham.
The 2015 World Champion punished Milkins in the final frame and made contributions of 35 and 48 to wrap up an unlikely 4-3 win.
Jamie Bodle qualified for the event by virtue of winning the 100th English Amateur Championship. His prize was a first round tie with 2003 UK Champion Matthew Stevens. Bodle was unfazed by the occasion and sealed a dream 4-1 win to progress. He faces another epic encounter in round two, where he’ll play either Judd Trump or Ken Doherty.
Mark Williams survived trouble with his tip, to defeat David John 4-2. His tip came off early on in the match and he required Tournament Director Paul Collier’s help putting a new one on. The two-time World Champion Williams returned and maintained his composure to ensure the win.
Stephen Maguire came through a tight tussle with Gareth Allen. The world number 18 was made to work for his round two berth. Maguire made contributions of 63, 50 and 69, but the resilient Allen forced a decider. The Scot showed his class and produced a break of 117 to win 4-3.
Kyren Wilson looked to be returning to his best form in a 4-0 win over amateur Wayne Townsend. The Warrior made runs of 91, 103 and 53 in the victory.
“I feel that this week I am close to how I was playing last season,” said Wilson. “I had bad tournaments in Shanghai and Romania and I’ve went away and worked very hard. I feel like my games in good shape and it’s just about replicating that on the TV stage.”