Ding Junhui Pulled Off a Remarkable Comeback
Ding Junhui pulled off a remarkable comeback from 4-0 down to defeat John Higgins 5-4 and reach the last eight of the Ladbrokes Players Championship in Llandudno. Higgins was on the other side of a fightback at the Scottish Open earlier this season, where he trailed Judd Trump 5-1 in the semi-final but turned the match on it's head to win 6-5. The victory for Ding enhanced an impressive recent record against the Scotsman. He's now won seven of their last eight meetings.
A risky plant by the 2016 World Championship runner-up gave Higgins an early opportunity and he capitalised making a break of 70 to go 1-0 ahead. He then compiled a run of 68 on his way to the second, before reeling off a further two frames to go into the interval 4-0 up.
There was a period of over 30 minutes in the first part of the game where Ding was frozen out without scoring a single point by the dominant Scot. After the interval Higgins looked like completing the whitewash, before missing the final red to allow Ding to stop the rot. The 29-year-old then made his first half century of the match in the sixth frame to move to 4-2.
Ding turned on the style with runs of 67 and 107 to force a decider. Both players had chances in the last frame but it was Ding who continued his momentum to complete an extraordinary comeback and book a last eight tie with Anthony Hamilton. Ding said: ''When I was 4-0 down I just wanted to win one frame. I kept going and made breaks to get to the decider. I then turned my focus to winning as I'm good at winning deciding frames.''