Ding Junhui Advances, Ends Tom Ford’s Masters Hopes in MrQ UK Championship

Ding Junhui extinguished Tom Ford’s chances of qualifying for the Masters while bolstering his own prospects with a 6-3 victory, advancing to the quarter-finals of the MrQ UK Championship in York.

In a decisive showdown this afternoon, the 17th-ranked Ding faced off against the 16th-ranked Ford. Both players understood that the loser would no longer contend for a spot at Alexandra Palace, given the looming seeding cutoff at week’s end.

Ding’s triumph places him in a favorable position to secure a return to the Masters, a feat eluding him in the previous two seasons. Hossein Vafaei of Iran remains the main contender, but he must reach at least the semi-finals to challenge Ding’s position. Ford’s defeat dashes his hopes of Masters qualification for the first time.

Having been the runner-up to Mark Allen the previous year in York, Ding is now just two victories away from another shot at the final. His quarter-final opponent will be either Mark Williams or Jamie Clarke.

The match began with an electrifying display of break-building prowess from both players. Ding surged to a 2-0 lead with consecutive runs of 126 and 110, but Ford countered with breaks of 118 and 98, leveling the score at 2-2. Ding claimed the fifth frame, and a dramatic sixth unfolded, culminating in Ding fluking the final black to go 4-2 ahead. The next two frames were traded before Ding secured a 6-3 win with a break of 106.

Reflecting on his performance, Ding commented, “When I got chances, I went into the pack and opened the balls. I made centuries in those first two frames, and I could have made more today. He also played well, though.”

On the adjacent table, Judd Trump dominated Jamie Jones with a 6-0 whitewash victory, advancing in his pursuit of a first UK title since 2011. Trump, the current form player of the season, awaits the winner of the Mark Selby vs. Barry Hawkins clash in the quarter-finals.

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