Fans of Ronnie O’Sullivan got a shocker when their favourite got swept out of the UK Championship by Ding Junhui. The Rocket must have harboured hopes of clinching the UK Championship title once the news broke out he was taking on Ding Junhui in the quarter-finals.
Just before the start of the game, legendary snooker player Jimmy White and TV presenter Colin Murray backed Ronnie to triumph on his 44th birthday. However, the whole world was stunned by the outcome of the game.
The English professional snooker player’s quest for a record-breaking eight UK Championship was brought down to bare bones by a resilient Junhui in breathless fashion.
One of the most successful players to have ever graced the snooker board, Ronnie was sent packing in the last-16, and the Englishman will have complacency to blame for his awful performance.
O’Sullivan never really got going at the start of the game, failing to pot a ball in the first three frames as the Star of the East had him on the back foot for the first few minutes.
Ding’s near-flawless start, which delivered breaks of 81, 52 and 110, must have got his opponent scratching his head early on.
As you would expect, the defending champion responded well to his poor start, delivering a majestic response, including back-to-back centuries, to bring the game level at 4-4.
Both players kept going back and forth in a nervy finale, and it must have been a difficult watch for fans. As the clock wound down, the pressure became unbearable for both players as they fought for rights to play in the semi-finals of the competition.
However, against pre-game expectations, Ding Junhui held his own till the end of the game to progress 6-4, condemning world number two snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan to defeat.
O’Sullivan had no complaints about losing to the 32-year-old for the second time in nine meetings, insisting that the Chinese player had him back-pedalled for much of the game.
“I was 4-1 down, and he hadn’t missed a ball, and I was thinking this could be a 6-0 or 6-1 mauling on my birthday”.
The 44-year old’s exit means all of the world’s top four is out of the tournament, following the thrashing of Mark Williams, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson.