DING JUNHUI made a great escape at the Haikou World Open on Wednesday to remain on track for a fifth ranking title this season.
Ding trailed India’s Pankaj Advani 4-2 in their last 32 match but won the seventh frame and then produced a grandstand finish, running out with breaks of 136 and 86 to win 5-4.
He said: “The key to winning a decider is to take one chance, winning it in one visit. Maybe I’m more confident. Everyone hopes to win the deciders in one visit but it’s up to your performance whether you take that chance or not.
“Even at 4-2 down I was playing ok and I wasn't that nervous. I wouldn’t have minded if I had lost because I’ve been playing a lot of tournaments, so I wasn’t concentrating hard enough for the first few frames, which caused some mistakes. It wasn't really pressure.
“Today I was patient all the way. Pankaj was able to make breaks of 50 or more every time he had a chance, which made it really tough.”
Mark Allen, the defending champion, won an important victory in his battle to gain a top 16 seeding for the World Championship.
Allen, Haikou champion in 2012 and 2013, defeated Mark Williams 5-3. The Northern Irishman lies 16th in the latest provisional standings but only the top 15 – plus no.1 seed Ronnie O’Sullivan – will be at the Crucible as of right.
However, Robert Milkins, placed 15th, was beaten 5-2 by Alan McManus, with 14th place Joe Perry knocked out yesterday.
The alarm bells didn’t ring – literally – for John Higgins as he coasted through to the last 16 a 5-0 winner over Michael White.
“I didn’t sleep at all last night then this morning I slept through my alarm so I was lucky to wake up in time for the match,” Higgins said.
“I was very lucky, everything went right for me and wrong for Michael. He’s going to be a top player for years to come but he didn't play well today.”
Stuart Bingham, winner of the fourth and final Asian Tour title of the season last weekend, was beaten 5-4 by Dominic Dale, who won the Shootout in January.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.