April 3, 2010

The Final Ding Junhui v Mark Williams Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:14 pm

Back to the Future - and no sign of Doc Brown

Sunday sees a two session final between the local hero and the returning hero.

The semi-finals were again very different in nature, Ding coming up against a frankly burnt out Mark Allen who just seemed to have run out of steam. Maybe it was being abroad, hopefully for anyone that fancies him for a run in Sheffield it wasn’t lack of stamina, but to me the young pistol just looked defeated the moment he set foot in the arena. He didn’t handle the occasion at all well. Ding for his part was impressive again and seems to hit the centre of the pocket every time when he gets going. He ran out an easy 6-2 winner.

The other semi-final saw a return to semi-final victory for the too long absent Mark Williams. My only doubt about him yesterday centred on his recent record in semi-finals as opposed to his opponent Ali Carter and resulted in my posting the third losing recommended bet of the week (out of 21 that ain’t too bad and with a 100% success rate in the morning matches the early nights on China time are clearly helping), with Ali falling one frame short of the handicap he was given by the bookies. But with the 20/1 on Williams recommended at the beginning of the tournament it didn’t dent the purse too much, though I will admit to laying a little of the whole winnings on Mark off as Ali began well in the match.

All in all, it has been an enjoyable event. I’m not sure what clues we can take from this as regards Sheffield but I’ll be giving the big one all my attention after tomorrow as the start is less than two weeks away.

So to the final:

Ding Junhui v Mark Williams (Head to Head 2-2, with 2 drawn matches)

On Top of the World on the One Year List

The head to head record does not really tell us a great deal. Ding’s easy victory in October in the Grand Prix (6-1 in the Semi-Final) however came at a time that Mark was in good form and at the beginning of this season that has seen him become provisional world number four again in the one year list.

Ding however after his win yesterday is now provisionally world number one on this list having now amassed more ranking points than the definite number one for next season John Higgins, in the past twelve months.  If Mark wins tomorrow he will climb into the provisional top 8 again for next season, this truly is a resurgence of one of the games great names.

The paths to the final have been thus:

Ding: 5-3 v Gerard Greene, 5-3 v Mark Selby, 5-2 v Peter Ebdon, 6-2 v Mark Allen.

Williams: 5-3 v Jamie Cope, 5-2 v John Higgins, 5-1 v Marco Fu, 6-4 v Ali Carter.

Ding: Frames Won 21 Lost 10

Williams: Frames Won 21 Lost 10

Beating players of a similar, if not exact same standard just goes to show what an even match up this really is.

Williams has now got over his semi final hoodoo and I think he’ll relax more in the final and is the type of player that can rise above the crowd. Ding has the weight of expectation on his shoulders but seems to be handling it a lot better now and has visibly matured as a player.

All these facts lead me to believe that this match will be very very close. Williams seems to thrive in China and Ding will probably ride the wave of the crowd behind him. They have both won this before and they are both in a rich vein of form, but both have made errors this week, but not so many that they have been overly punished.

It may very well go to a decider (available at 4/1 at Hills) so I would say the only bet to recommend to anyone that hasn’t got an interest already is a more neutral one that isn’t dependent on the result of what could be a great match. It’s been a great week punting-wise regardless of the result of this and I hope the faithful few on here have managed to come away with a decent kitty for Sheffield and a bit to spare.

Final Recommended Bets of the Week:

Ding to make the Highest Break of the Match (8/11 Bet365 – had to disappear out last night and put the earlier price up before they had all priced it up)

Over 2.5 centuries in the Final (5/4 SkyBet)

That’s all I’ll recommend but as it’s been such a good week and I’m easy on who wins this I’ve decided to risk a few quid on the 25/1 SkyBet are offering on a 147 in this match – there’s one born every minute…… 🙂

Good Luck to all as ever.

REMINDER: Last chance to enter the Caption Competition tomorrow. Mrs Snookerbacker will be judging the winner.

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