Ding Junhui called it the ‘biggest win’ of his career after he defeated five-times world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan to reach the Crucible semi-finals.
China’s number one star is now just two wins away from become the first Far East player to be crowned snooker world champion after his memorable 13-10 victory against the Rocket.
Ding will next play the man who beat him in last year’s final – Mark Selby – who eased to the semi-finals after thrashing Marco Fu 13-3 with a session to spare.
But for Ding today was a day he will never forget after beating his idol for the first time on snooker’s biggest stage – The Crucible Theatre.
However, despite being 10-6 to the good overnight, victory was by no means certain when O’Sullivan quickly reduced his arrears to 10-8 with an hour of the final session.
But Ding won an important third frame with a break of 69 to put some welcoming breathing space between the two at 11-8.
The next frame, though, saw O’Sullivan respond in brilliant fashion as he made a superb 146 – the highest break of the tournament – in just over seven minutes to go into the interval 11-9 down.
Before today in major events, Ding Junhui had beaten Ronnie O’Sullivan JUST ONCE out of nine matches against each other – the 2006 Northern Ireland Trophy
But Ding once again showed true determination under pressure as a break of 87 put him on he verge of victory.
O’Sullivan, however, was to put even more tantalising pressure on the Chinese star as a missed red on 63 allowed him to clear with a run of 73 to keep his slim hopes alive.
But despite that disappointment Ding bounced back and won the match in style with a stylish break of 117.
After the match O’Sullivan embraced and congratulated an emotional Ding in a lovely act of sportsmanship.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Ding said it was the biggest win of his career.
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