After a thoroughly entertaining morning session which saw Mark Williams hang on to a heavy scoring Ding Junhui to trail by just one frame at 5-4, the players are now out to play what promises to be a fascinating evening session…
The perfect start for Mark as he makes a break of 81 to draw level in the match for the first time since 1-1, will he be able to push on from here and put Ding under pressure?
This could be a huge turning point as having led by over 60 points, Ding Junhui looked set to re-take the lead once again but he faltered by missing a relatively straightforward frame ball red and Mark stepped in to clear the table with a break of 65 to lead himself.
Ding has not always been the strongest player mentally – can he recover from that?
Ding has an immediate chance to make amends following a poor break-off from Mark, though with many of the reds remaining close together he still has work to do…
Fabulous response from Ding given how he lost the previous frame as the break moves up to 72, more than enough with just five reds remaining. He has missed the black on 73 but with the frame won we are now level again at 6-6…
With the reds spread across the table Mark has pulled out a terrific pot to give himself an excellent chance to win this frame in one visit and go back into the lead at 7-6, only one safe red on the table…and he duly takes it with 64.
So Mark has managed to turn the match around and leads at the mid-session interval. I do not think that Ding will fall away as he did at the Grand Prix against Neil Robertson but he will have to play well to stop Williams in this form…
First chance falls to Mark Williams following an excellent do or die shot on a red to the left-centre. Having now split the reds from the blue he has an excellent chance to put another sizeable break together…but having left the cue ball on the side-cushion he has been unable to get back into position from the blue and has been forced to play safe on 25.
The first real mistake from Ding comes as he leaves a red hanging over a corner pocket and now Mark is back in and scoring again. Could be significant if he can clinch the frame at this visit to put two frames between himself and Ding for the first time, in his favour anyway…and he does, 8-6.
This is a must-win frame now for the home favourite as he bids to stop the rot and importantly, stop Mark from going three up with four to play…
Well what drama we had there as Ding got in with the first opportunity, making 48 before breaking down and allowing Mark back to the table. The Welshman could not win the frame as he missed the final red but he did get second prize as he snookered Ding and forced an error from which it looked like he would win the frame.
Incredibly however, Mark then potted the final yellow but at the same time left himself snookered by the brown on the green! Ding subsequently managed to pot it before missing the brown with the rest to hand Mark a chance to take the frame, which he duly has done barring snookers.
9-6 now and I don’t really see a way back for Ding, particularly given how the previous frame was lost.
Mark is looking as confident now as I have seen him since he last won the World Championship back in 2003, two stunning pots in this frame alone as he has earned himself a lead of 45 points over Ding with just five reds left. He has however now missed and it is well and truly last chance saloon time for the crowd favourite…
And Ding cannot take it, Mark gets back to the table and becomes the 2010 China Open champion, completing his return to the top after a barren few years.
The key for me was the fact that while Ding was the better player this morning, Mark was able to stay in touch and when he found his best form, there was simply no stopping him. A crucial turning point was also frame 11 when Ding lost the frame having looked certain to move back into a 6-5 lead, only to hand the initiative back to Mark.
The result lifts Mark up to seventh in the provisional rankings and up above Ronnie O’Sullivan into third on the one-year list.