Congratulations to Ronnie O’Sullivan who has tonight defeated Ding Junhui 7-1 to lift a record-extending tenth Premier League crown at Potters Leisure Resort. Click below for my review of the final…
As pointed out by commentator and all-round snooker statistician Phil Yates this evening, heading into tonight’s final Ronnie O’Sullivan had won 60 of his 82 professional frames played against Ding Junhui and there was a feeling that the Chinese number one would have to make a fast start if he were to improve on that tonight.
It was not quite to be though as it was O’Sullivan who was able to make the most of his early opportunities, moving 2-0 up within half an hour with a top break of 92.
The early exchanges of the third frame however were to prove the first key moment in the match as O’Sullivan first missed a black from nowhere before then going in-off into the yellow pocket. Importantly however he was not to leave an easy starter for Ding on either occasion and as current Masters champion then could not even find the jaws with an attempt from mid-distance, he left Ronnie in for what was eventually to prove the decisive break of 56.
At this stage Ding’s head appeared to drop slightly and with a missed black off the spot played with extreme left-hand side in an attempt to dislodge the final red, O’Sullivan came back to the table to make it 4-0 and already the outcome looked to be somewhat inevitable.
To Ding’s credit however, he was to produce his best break of the match to close the gap to 4-1, his clearance including two doubles as he attempted to keep himself in the match heading into the mid-session interval.
On their resumption Ding found himself with a chance to close the gap to 4-2 but a horrible kick was to cost him dear, while having made an initial break of 60 in the next frame he was only able to watch as O’Sullivan produced his second important clearance of the match to leave himself just one away from victory. The defending champion was not to be denied as he eventually clinched another Premier League title with a break of 77.
What will undoubtedly be another satisfying victory for O’Sullivan, what did strike me was just how impressive his long-game looked during the match. When in close around the black spot Ronnie has always looked like he is going to score but in recent years his long-game has been noticeably weaker than it once was. Tonight however his long-game looked to be as good as I have seen it in a number of years and it will be interesting to see whether he can maintain this during the remainder of the season.
Indeed Ronnie should now head into the UK Championship in a good frame of mind, though a word of caution as last season of course he was to win the Premier League in similarly dominant fashion, only to lose in the first-round of the UK Championship against Stuart Bingham.
As for Ding, he will be pleased to have made it to what is his first Premier League final and despite not being able to win tonight, he has at least got some important match-practice under his belt heading into York, particularly having not elected to play many of the PTC events recently, but in the meantime the action continues with the PTC10 event which continues tomorrow.
So that’s the Premier League over and out for another year and opinions will vary as to whether or not the format has been an improvement or not compared to last season. For what it’s worth I will offer my considered opinion on that topic in an upcoming blog this week.