O’Sullivan hits back to beat Ding


Dates: 10-17 January Venue: Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport app. Highlights on BBC Two and online.

Seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan launched a stunning comeback from 5-3 down to beat Ding Junhui 6-5 in the first round at the Masters.

China’s Ding, the 2011 champion, made a blistering start with breaks of 83, 75 and 73 for a 3-0 lead, but O’Sullivan responded with runs of 103 and 60.

The pair traded superb centuries in the next three frames as Ding went 5-3 up.

O’Sullivan hit back again by punishing Ding’s missed chances, claiming victory with 73 in a final-frame decider.

John Higgins faces Mark Allen in the evening session (19:00 GMT), with the winner of that match to face O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals on Friday.

O’Sullivan came from behind time and time again to claim a sixth world title in August and showed his mettle under pressure once more to claim a fifth victory over Ding in as many meetings at the Masters.

With the event taking place behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena, spectators missed out on a stellar spectacle which featured four centuries and six further breaks of 70 or more.

World number nine Ding said: “I had good chances to win the match but did not make them. I sometimes made it complicated to win frames, I just needed to take simple shots and take the points. I sometimes confused myself.

“Ronnie played a bit better than the first half and I sometimes chose the wrong positional shots.”

More to follow.

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