Ronnie O’Sullivan sat out the UK Championship at the quarter-final stage on Friday after being whitewashed by Ding Junhui in a humiliating loss to The Rocket at the York Barbican. The result marked O’Sullivan’s first loss to nil since he lost to Hossein Vafaei in qualifying for last year’s German Masters, with Ding racing like a madman to put his mentor to the sword in six frames.
The contest began as a close affair, with Ding besting O’Sullivan to clinch the first two frames before turning on the style as the match wore on. He made a statement with an impressive 88 break in the third frame before reaping the rewards of an outrageous fluke on a red in the fourth as he extended his lead en route to victory.
O’Sullivan managed to earn just four points after trailing 2-0 as Ding advanced to the semi-finals with a hugely dominating performance to condemn O’Sullivan to his first career thrashing at a Triple Crown event. His Chinese opponent wrapped up the process with an astonishing break of 131 to seal arguably the biggest win of his career, with the result marking one of the most notable upsets in tournament history.
Ding was warmly embraced by O’Sullivan immediately after the final frame and The Rocket were quick to offer their congratulations when asked about his post-match thoughts.
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“He played well, he played brilliantly well,” O’Sullivan admitted. “I hope he wins it now. He showed what a fantastic player he is, I’m not surprised. I’ve had a good run, I can’t complain. Now I have a little bit of free time.” .”
Meanwhile, Ding was delighted with his performance after snapping runs of 88.94.87 and 131 to easily edge past O’Sullivan into the last four of the UK Championship in what turned out to be an easy afternoon for the former number one in the world. 1.
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“I’ve been working hard for the last two years,” he said. “They (Chinese players) push me to work harder. I will keep trying and doing the same.”
Ding will face either Joe Perry or Tom Ford in the UK Championship semi-finals on Saturday as he chases his first tournament win since 2019. O’Sullivan, meanwhile, will be left scratching his head in disbelief after a mistake. sparse performance that saw him become the last of the world’s top six players to fall out of this year’s competition.
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