Ding Junhui, the 2016 tournament winner, brought a sudden end to Ronnie O’Sullivan’s dream debut in the Six Red World Championship after defeating him in the first round of the final 16.
O’Sullivan had made an impressive start to the tournament so far, which was first held in 2008 and last took place in 2019. O’Sullivan emerged as the undisputed winner of his group after securing huge victories against James Wattana, Stan Moody, and Jimmy Robertson over the past two days of the fierce competition in Thailand, thereby earning himself a spot in the tournament’s knockout stages.
O’Sullivan faced Ding, his old friend and acquaintance, in the next round. Ding had previously won the tournament in 2016 and finished as the runner-up in 2018 so his confidence levels were high, even as he took on O’Sullivan for a place in the next round. The two players have a long-standing rivalry and O’Sullivan was seeking to avenge the crushing 6-0 defeat that he suffered to Ding in the UK Championship in November.
After an even start, with each player taking 2 of the first 4 frames, Ding burst into the lead and went on to hammer O’Sullivan, winning 4 consecutive frames to secure an impressive 6-2 victory. Among many moments of brilliance, Ding’s victory was aided by a spectacular escape shot in the seventh frame that demonstrated, at least on the night, that he was the better of the two players.
Despite O’Sullivan’s early exit from the tournament, he played well throughout the opening games, winning 3 out of 3 of his group matches. Even so, O’Sullivan just couldn’t compete with Ding’s blinding 4 frame charge to ultimate victory. Ding’s triumph over O’Sullivan has put him in an excellent position to compete for the championship title and the $100,000 prize money.
The Six Red World Championship has a global reputation for being fiercely contested, with many of the world’s top snooker players eager to participate in the cut-throat competition. The exciting, short format of the frames and the sudden turnarounds in the fates of the competitors make the Six Red World Championship a prime opportunity for players to showcase their talents on the world stage.