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Premier League 2011 – Ronnie does it again

27 November 2011 No Comment

Final update, 28.11.11:

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN won his seventh PartyPoker.com Premier League title in eight years and tenth overall as he made light work of Ding Junhui to record a 7-1 victory at Potters Leisure Resort at Hopton on Sea.

Ding perhaps didn’t have the rub of the green at times but he was ruthlessly punished by a dominant O’Sullivan who killed off the 50/50 frames with ease.

“That was brilliant. I played good and I know Ding didn’t play as good as he could. He had a bad kick luckily for me and did a decent clearance to take the frame and go 6-1,” said O’Sullivan.

“Ding did have a few chances and balls didn’t run for him but I had a bit of luck and made it count,” he added.

“He’s playing very good and I didn’t play better than last night’s semi-final and when you play Ronnie, you have to play your best,” said Ding.

O’Sullivan got proceedings underway as he compiled a tidy break of 52 to take the opener. In the next, he played a shocking safety that surprised even himself as the cue ball collided with the pink and stayed at the wrong end of the table. The balls fell nicely for him though and Ding could not capitalise.

O’Sullivan’s good fortune was even more telling as he subsequently compiled an excellent 92 to move the score ominously to 2-0.

O’Sullivan flashed in a superb long red and split the pack across the table but the black failed to drop. Once again he left nothing on and when the Rocket went in off screwing back off a long red, Ding failed to pot a long red himself. Both players were missing at each visit before O’Sullivan gathered himself to record a 56 break.

Ding was looking distinctly uneasy and O’Sullivan went on to take the frame and a 3-0 lead.

The Chinese, who has two wins against five defeats in matches versus O’Sullivan, needed to do something to rescue the situation and looked on track in the fourth frame. He broke down when on 42 and O’Sullivan stepped in to clear up and go to 4-0.

O’Sullivan missed an easy red into the centre pocket in the next to give Ding a boost and they both had chances. O’Sullivan missed a simple black off the spot though and Ding cashed in with a doubled red and went on to take his first frame of the match.

In the sixth, when on 31, O’Sullivan missed a red into the corner pocket and Ding seemed to have a chance but an awful kick on a red with just three reds left on the table put paid to his hopes.

A 60 break from Ding ended when he missed a tough pot on a long red into the centre pocket. From there O’Sullivan completed an ice cool clearance of 63 to get to within one rack of retaining the title.

The job was duly completed in the next when a break of 77 made it game, set and match for O’Sullivan.

“Last year I wasn’t going to play anymore but got my head right and was able to play on. Now I want to play and I’m enjoying it and that’s the most positive I’ve felt,” said O’Sullivan.

“This is one that’s always nice to win. It’s a fantastic crowd, a great weekend of snooker and hopefully it will set me up to win a few more this season,” he added.

Semi-final update, 27.11.11:

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN is on track for yet another PartyPoker.com Premier League title as he had too much for Welshman Mark Williams who he defeated 5-2 at Potters Leisure Resort.

It will be O’Sullivan’s eighth consecutive final and he will surely start a big favourite to beat Ding Junhui who had earlier beaten Judd Trump.

It was Williams though, who got off to an excellent start as he took an uneventful opener but O’Sullivan, aiming for his tenth Premier League title overall, squared things courtesy of a break of 46 in the second.

O’Sullivan got the bit between his teeth in the third with a nice break of 109 but Williams fought back to take the fourth and leave the score poised at 2-2. ‘The Rocket’ regained the lead in the next with breaks of 55 and 36, and Williams had it all to do.

The Welshman though could do nothing to stem the tide though as breaks of 84 and 88 gave O’Sullivan the match.

“Mark won the first easy and had a good chance to win the second but really, he let me off the hook,” said O’Sullivan.

“It was always a tough match and I have the utmost respect for Mark. No match is ever safe and you just have to do the best you can.

“I felt a bit flustered at the beginning and never settled but overall I’m pleased with the performance and looking forward to tomorrow,” he added.

DING JUNHUI made it through to his first ever final of the PartyPoker.com Premier League Snooker with a comfortable 5-3 win over Judd Trump at Potters Leisure Resort in Norfolk. It was a lacklustre affair in the early stages but the Chinese asserted himself in the latter part with some top quality break-building.

That was the difference between the two and Ding will now face the winner of the second semi-final between Mark Williams and defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan

In front of a packed house, Ding left himself a tricky red after going into the pack in attempt to nudge them into the open. He missed it as his break ended on 42. Trump himself played a poor positional when on 28 and was forced to play safe. Ding got back to the table and cleared up to take the opener.

The second was a very scrappy affair which Trump edged courtesy of a run of 30 but the Bristol man looked more fluid in the next as a break of 58 put him into the lead.

That didn’t last for long though as Ding put together a run of 59 to square the match at 2-2. Neither player was at their best but with so much at stake it was developing into an intriguing encounter.

However, Ding grabbed the match by the scruff of its next in the fifth frame when he compiled a total clearance of 139. It was the second biggest break of the championship and it moved him into a 3-2 lead.

Trump had a golden opportunity to help his cause in the next after Ding left an easy red on. He missed a red into the centre pocket when on 45 though, and the initiative switched back to the Chinese.

He missed on 34 to leave Trump a great chance but he failed to take it as the frame became scrappy. Trump was offered several chances which he couldn’t convert and Ding stole the frame with a run of 34.

At 4-2 down Trump had it all to do and he won the next to give himself a chance. He missed another red with the rest when on 25 in the eighth frame and left a difficult angled plant for Ding. The Chinese took it on and created a great opportunity to win the match, and a break of 75 saw him over the line and into Sunday night’s final.

Semi Final 1: Ding Junhui 5-3 Judd Trump
89-37 (Ding 42, 47), 28-53 (Trump 30), 15-74 (Trump 58), 68 – 17 (Ding 59), 139 – 0 (Ding 139), 69-58 (Trump 45, Ding 34), 14-70 (Trump 43), 75-25 (Ding 75)

Semi Final 2: Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-2 Mark Williams
0-66 (Williams 43), 70-33 (Williams 32, O’Sullivan 46), 109-3 (O’Sullivan 109), 34-59 (Williams 35), 96-0 (O’Sullivan 55 & 36), 85-0 (O’Sullivan 84) 92-9 (O’Sullivan 88)

Group stage update, 19.11.11:

Congratulations to Grove players Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump who both made it through to the last four of this year’s PartyPoker.com Premier League Snooker competition.

Each player played in four of the ten qualifying matches. Ronnie started with a 2-3 loss against Shuan Murphy, but then won week 4 with a 3-0 win against Matthew Stevens and a 3-1 win against Ali Carter. He then beat Judd 3-2 before losing to Ding Junhui 1-3, but in the final week beat Jimmy White 3-0 and Shaun Murphy 3-1, to give him an 18-10 record which put him at the top of the ten-man qualifying group.

Judd started well with four straight wins to take events 5 and 7, beating Mark Williams 3-1, Matthew Stevens 3-0, Ali Carter 3-1 and Neil Robertson 3-1. After losing to Ronnie 2-3 he then lost 0-3 in the last match to Shaun Murphy, having already qualified. Judd’s record was 14-9 which placed him third overall behind Ding Junhui but ahead of Mark Williams.

The four players will play off in the semi-finals and finals, taking place at Hopton on 26/27 NOvember.

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