Ding’s UK problems continue as Martin O’Donnell records upset

Martin O’Donnell is through to the quarter-finals of the UK Championship after recording, arguably, the win of his life.

And it was fully deserved – as the Englishman dominated his last 16 battle against China’s number one star Ding Junhui when it mattered the most and ran out a 6-4 winner this afternoon.

On Friday, O’Donnell, 32, will play the biggest match of his life when he takes on Ronnie O’Sullivan for a place in the semi-finals.

Today’s victory for the world number 59 means he is guaranteed to leave the tournament having won £22,500 – his biggest pay check of his playing career.

Martin O’Donnell. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

And it continues what has so far been an impressive season for the Londoner having already made the quarter-finals in two major ranking events this season – both in China – the International championship and the China Championship.

But to have success on UK soil and win live on the BBC against one of the world’s best players will make this O’Donnell’s finest win of his career.

In fact O’Donnell was close to silverware last season when he reached the semi-finals of the Snooker Shoot Out. But there’s nothing like making your mark in a traditional and well established snooker event – and that is what he has achieved today.

Defeat for Ding means his struggles in UK-based tournaments goes on. 

Ding Junhui. Picture by Monique Limbos

You have to go back to early 2012 when he last collected major ranking event silverware on UK soil – when he won the Welsh Open beating Mark Selby in the final.

The 13-times ranking event winner has so far failed to reach the quarter-finals of a ranking event this season.

O’Donnell’s surprise win made it an afternoon of shocks at York’s Barbican Theatre as moments earlier, Judd Trump suffered a surprise defeat to world number 21 Joe Perry – losing 6-4.

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