Ronnie O’Sullivan’s UK Championship hopes ended by Ding Junhui

Defending back-to-back champion dumped out on his 44th birthday at York’s Barbican

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s reign as UK champion was ended by Ding Junhui. Photograph: Nigel French/PA

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s reign as UK champion was ended by Ding Junhui. Photograph: Nigel French/PA

 

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s hopes of winning a third successive UK Championship title ended with a 6-4 defeat by Ding Junhui in the last 16 in York.

On his 44th birthday, O’Sullivan recovered from 4-1 down to level at 4-4 but it was China’s Ding who won the final two frames to set up a quarter-final clash with countryman Liang Wenbo.

O’Sullivan, who has won a record seven titles at the event, did not pot a ball in the first three frames as Ding flew out of the blocks.

Back-to-back centuries got the world number two back into the contest, and he insisted he was not unhappy with the result.

Ding Junhui beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-4 in York. Photograph: Nigel French/PA
Ding Junhui beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-4 in York. Photograph: Nigel French/PA

“I am quite happy with four frames,” O’Sullivan said on the BBC. “I was 4-1 down and he hadn’t missed a ball and I was thinking this could a 6-0 or 6-1 mauling on my birthday.

“I got it back to 4-4 and twitched a red and he played well and held himself together at the end.”

Ding has not won a ranking event in more than two years and is down at 16 in the rankings, and he celebrated a “really big win”.

“I know I played good in the last round so I was confident,” he said.

“Ronnie played fantastic but it’s a really big win for me. I am very happy. I knew his comeback was on the way. He doesn’t miss many when he is making breaks.”

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