THE 2012 Welsh Open final will be contested between Mark Selby and Ding Junhui after they beat Ronnie O’Sullivan and Shaun Murphy respectively in their semi-final clashes.
Selby, who won the competition four years ago, will play in his second Welsh Open final after coming through a tense battle with O’Sullivan at the Newport Centre tonight.
It was not a classic semi-final by all means but the tenseness of the match, the rivalry of both players and the battle on the table made it enjoyable to watch.
The match started nervy with the first frame lasting for more than half an hour. But it was Selby who took it after Ronnie missed several opportunities to get in the balls.
But a break of 80 from O’Sullivan settled his nerved as he levelled the match at 1-1. The next two frames were shared as the players went into the mid-session at 2-2.
Selby took the first frame after the break and showed his toughness coming back from 54-6 down in to take a 3-2 lead. The sixth frame was another tight affair but a stunning long pot on the final red allowed him to clear to open a two frame advantage. With the match being first to six frames – the game was starting to slip from O’Sullivan’s grasp.
The world-number-one then moved into a commanding 5-2 lead before closing out the match in a tactical frame.
Earlier in the day saw China’s Ding Junhui reach his first Welsh Open title with a 6-2 win over Shaun Murphy.
Ding will be aiming for his first ranking title tomorrow since winning the UK Championship in 2009.
The Sheffield-based player took a scrappy first frame before Murphy levelled with a break of 126.
But that did not worry Ding who looks to have found his form in this competition. He took the next two frames with breaks of 91 and 71 to lead 3-1 at the mid-session interval.
A break of 90 reduced Murphy’s deficit but Ding restored his two-frame lead after the Englishman failed to take full advantage when in the balls at the start of the frame.
Ding then took a commanding 5-2 lead with a break of 75 in the seventh frame and he then booked his place in the final when clearing up the table after Murphy played a poor safety on the last red.
Murphy will ponder his missed chances today and begin to wonder what he has to do to win a major trophy after losing The Masters final last month and recently semi-final heartbreak in both the German Masters and Welsh Open.
In this form, Ding certainly should feel confident of lifting more silverware on Sunday night.
The final starts tomorrow at 1pm. Live coverage is available via British Eurosport, BBC Wales (red button interactive for UK digital viewers) and BBC Online.