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Masters final - frame by frame
Wembley Arena; best of 19 frames

R O'SULLIVAN (Eng) 10-3 J DING (Chn)

1-77 (77) 16-109 (109) 62-1 (55) 92-22 (99) 128-0 (128) 101-37 (101) 64-72 116-4 (116) 96-0 (96) 66-65 143-0 (143) 97-0 121-3


By Richard Hookham

Thirteenth frame
O'Sullivan 121-3 Ding
That's it, O'Sullivan seals his third Masters title. Ding manages to pull himself together to return after the mini-break but O'Sullivan moves to 47 in double-quick time. Ding again looks upset with comments from the crowd, with one idiot forcibly removed by security, and O'Sullivan appeals for calm. After a brief explanation on the miss rule from the referee following two failed attempts, the Rocket gets out of trouble with a superb safety shot.

Ding's subsequent effort leaves the balls open again and O'Sullivan looks as if it's practice night at the Romford Snooker Centre. Shattered Ding leaves the room immediately, leaving O'Sullivan to accept the trophy from Steve Davis, who acclaims it as one of the most remarkable exhibitions of potting the professional game has ever seen.

Update:
We hear that Ding has retired to the dressing room to momentarily compose himself. He seems to have been upset from comments made by the highly vociferous and partizan O'Sullivan supporters, who have packed into the Wembley Arena. He has only been a professional for three years and surely would not have had to play in such a hostile atmosphere.

Ronnie seemed to be consoling his opponent as they left the arena. He, more than anyone, will know what pressures the young man must be feeling right now.

"It's a tough place to play if the crowd are cheering so much for your opponent. Ding looks like he's suffering from that." BBC commentator and six-times world champion Steve Davis.

Twelfth frame
O'Sullivan 97-0 Ding
Dramatic scenes here at the Wembley Arena as Ding almost appeared to throw in the towel! O'Sullivan flies into a 48-0 lead but is stopped momentarily by a terrible kick on a red which leaves him out of position. He decides to play for safety and from another resulting error from Ding he's back at the table to wrap up the frame. But amazingly, Ding gets up and shakes O'Sullivan's hand as if to surrender the match. Ronnie leads him out of the arena with his shoulder around him to console him. How ironic that O'Sullivan, who himself walked out in last month's UK Championships, could be faced with a similar scenario. We wait to see what will happen.

Eleventh frame
O'Sullivan 143-0 Ding
A single mistake from Ding - a tough red along the cushion - and within minutes O'Sullivan wraps up another frame. It's a sublime exhibition of potting for the Rocket's fourth century of the final. When he's playing like this, no one can get near him. He's returning a 96% success rate, illustrating his utter dominance as the contest progresses. Understandably, Ding looks like he's had the stuffing knocked out of him, but he can only admire the game's greatest player in full flow.

Tenth frame
O'Sullivan 66-65 Ding
Heartbreak for Ding as O'Sullivan snatches the frame with a fabulous 66 clearance to win on the black. The 19-year-old built a gutsy break of 65 but missed a difficult pink which allowed O'Sullivan a return to the table he probably wasn't expecting. Ronnie pounces and rattles off the remaining balls in clinical fashion taking, on average, just 16 seconds to pot each ball.

Ninth frame
O'Sullivan 96-0 Ding
Has Ronnie taken his foot off the pedal? No chance. Given the slightest of opportunities, last year's runner-up immediately gets back into his stride with a stunning break of 96 to build a three-frame lead. Ding looks shell-shocked. He's made just one mistake and been punished mercilessly. The only question now is will the Rocket get over-confident and allow his opponent to creep back into the match?

Evening Session build-up
Welcome back to the final session of the 2007 Masters. Ronnie O'Sullivan holds a 5-3 lead after a fascinating afternoon's play.

Ding went off like at an express train, taking the first two frames of the day, before O'Sullivan came storming back. Can the Rocket now hold his nerve and see it through for victory?


Eighth frame
O'Sullivan 116-4 Ding
Now in full swing, O'Sullivan saunters to a frame-winning break of 116 to lead 5-3 at the end of the session. Ronnie seems have his swagger back after some early nerves, while Ding sits head in hands, attempting to focus on the evening finale.

"How Ding can play so well and still be behind is incredible. It just shows the standard Ronnie is setting," BBC pundit and 1992 World Champion John Parrott.

Seventh frame
O'Sullivan 64-72 Ding
Ding snatches the frame after an intriguing shoot-out on the pink. He forces O'Sullivan to play and miss after laying two deft snookers behind the black. Ronnie finally slips up and his opponent, at 66-64, pockets the pink to haul himself back to within one frame.

Sixth frame
O'Sullivan 101-37 Ding
Ding misses a tricky pink to the right centre pocket at 37 ahead to hand O'Sullivan a chance to mop up. Despite a nasty kick on the second red, the 2001 and 2004 world champion holds his position perfectly and constructs a 102 break to move two frames clear.

Fifth frame
O'Sullivan 128-0 Ding
Right-hander O'Sullivan resumes full of confidence, and a rasping long red to the bottom left pocket sparks a frame-winning break of 128. The Essex Exocet even switches to southpaw to blast home a yellow, enabling him to get in among the pack early on. Some sweet potting puts him into the lead for the first time.

Fourth frame
O'Sullivan 62-1 Ding
Bold play from O'Sullivan sees him draw level. A poor positional shot from Ding lets Ronnie in among the reds, although it was a brave cut on the brown that kept the break going until 99. Ronnie was unable to reach the final black without using the rest but, instead, he cheekily leans on the table with both feet off the ground, which brings a foul but the first smile to his face. It's all square.

Third frame
O'Sullivan 99-22 Ding
After some cagey safety exchanges, O'Sullivan is gifted a chance to build his first meaningful break. You can almost feel the tension lift off him as each ball drops. Brilliant positioning off a difficult pink midway through the run to push the penultimate red off the centre cushion keeps his run going to 55, enough to see him home.

Second frame
O'Sullivan 16-109 Ding
O'Sullivan puts 16 early points on the board but leaves a red over the bottom left pocket which Ding easily sinks from long range. It sets up the teenager to fire home a beautiful pink to the right centre pocket. The cue ball splits the pack, laying the foundations for a frame-winning 109 break.

First frame
O'Sullivan 1-77 Ding
Ding takes the opener after capitalising on an easy missed black by O'Sullivan to the centre pocket. The cue ball is left in a grouping of reds and Ding clinically mops up, despite needing to wobble in a difficult pink midway through his break.


Build-up: Ronnie O'Sullivan is favourite to win his third Masters title, but wildcard Ding Junhui has been in scintillating form this week at Wembley.

O'Sullivan's hopes may yet be undermined by the personal problems which he claimed were behind his walkout at the UK Championship in December.

It is his sixth Masters final but he faces a tough test against his 19-year-old opponent, aiming to bag his fourth career title before the age of 20.



SEE ALSO
2007 Masters Draw
14 Jan 07 |  Snooker


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