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Ding Junhui will have been counting his lucky stars after pulling off a shot that was described as “fluke of the season” by snooker icon Shaun Murphy. He began his UK Championship campaign with a 6-4 win over Daniel Wells in Leicester on Monday but could not have asked for a better slice of luck in the final frame.
The Chinese star had fought back from 4-3 down to lead 5-4 and had attempted a long red at the start of the frame with the scores tied at 0-0. With several reds spread across the table for Wells to attack, Ding will have been fearing the worst when he was unable to find the bottom corner pocket with his shot.
However, not only did that red cannon off the pink and another red before landing in the top corner – that second red found the middle pocket and Ding was able to breathe a big sigh of relief. The crowd inside the Morningside Arena could not believe what they were witnessing as Ding was the benefactor of potentially one of the best flukes of the season.
That was according to Murphy, who reacted on X (formerly known as Twitter) by writing: “Dings just had fluke of the season. Close the competition.” He then replied to one of his followers who was also impressed with the shot, adding: “Filth.”
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Ding went on to win the frame and match as produced breaks of 136, 67, 57, 68, 96, 98 and 64 to win the final three frames. The three-time tournament winner has set up a last 64 clash with Robbie Williams on Wednesday and admitted he was fortunate in the final frame.
“It was a close game, Daniel played well,” world No 17 Ding said. “From 4-3, I knew I needed to make some breaks and put him under pressure. The fluke in the last frame was so lucky. The safety was difficult and I saw the long pot and thought I could get the white back to baulk, but I totally missed it and the two reds went in.
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“It’s down to me to stay in the top 16, I have to win matches not rely on other players’ results.
“This is good match practice and if I make it to York, maybe I’ll be ready. I love playing at the Barbican. Even if I’m not playing well, I always feel good there.”
It was actually Ding’s second fluke inside a week, having gotten fortunate on the black as a double kiss marked his century in defeat to John Higgins at the Champion of Champions.
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