Ding Wins to be First Into Playoffs

Ding Junhui

Ding Junhui won the latest event in the PartyPoker.com Premier League Snooker season to become the first man through to the play-offs.
Ding beat Neil Robertson 3-2 in his evening semi-final and then claimed a 3-1 final victory over Ronnie O'Sullivan, who has won the Premier League title in six of the last seven years.
The latest event came from the Guildhall in Southampton and O'Sullivan and Judd Trump played out a thrilling opening semi-final in front of a capacity crowd.
Trump, who reached the World Championship final in May, made a 139 in the opening frame of the day before efforts of 53 and 89 from O'Sullivan gave him the lead.
But Trump forced the match into a decider, which O'Sullivan clinched with a break of 70.
Robertson, whose journey from Cambridge to Southampton took five hours and left him without enough time to practice on the table, lost the opening two frames in the second semi-final against Ding.
Robertson fought back by winning the next two but scores of 42 and 58 in the last gave Ding the victory to set up a final with O'Sullivan.
After a scrappy start, Ding fouled when he missed everything trying to escape from a snooker and O'Sullivan punished him with a score of 77 to go 1-0 in front.
But breaks of 37 and 30 from Ding helped him make it 1-1. O'Sullivan had a chance after a shock Ding miss that left the red over the pocket but the Englishman was then unlucky to foul.
The third frame was one of the longest of the night as O'Sullivan missed a black off the spot after scoring 31 before Ding went in-off. Ding missed after moving into a slight lead but an O'Sullivan error that left the yellow ball on the table gave Ding a chance and he won the frame on the black.
O'Sullivan looked on course to pull it back to 2-2 and force the third shootout of the day when he held a 17-3 lead. However, he let Ding back in and he finished off the match in clinical style with a break of 76 to win it 3-1.
Event eight - Guildhall, Southampton - November 3

SEMI-FINAL 1: Ronnie O'Sullivan 3-2 Judd Trump
0-139 (Trump 139), 94-32 (O'Sullivan 53), 89-22 (O'Sullivan 89), 46-64 (O'Sullivan 41, Trump 58), 78-4 (O'Sullivan 70).
SEMI-FINAL 2: Ding Junhui 3-2 Neil Robertson
72-59 (Ding 36, Robertson 38), 61-14 (Ding 61), 17-72 (Robertson 66), 46-70 (Ding 39, Robertson 55), 100-7 (Ding 42, 58)
FINAL: Ronnie O'Sullivan 1-3 Ding Junhui
82-0 (O'Sullivan 77), 1-74 (Ding 37, 30), 58-68 (O'Sullivan 31, Ding 32), 17-79 (Ding 76)