Ronnie O’Sullivan hails ‘magnificent’ Ding Junhui as best ever in one department

Ronnie O’Sullivan was in top form as he beat Ding Junhui at The Masters on Monday (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan has hailed Ding Junhui as possessing the best cue ball control in the history of snooker and a better player than him technically, despite getting the better of the Chinese superstar at The Masters on Monday.

The Rocket and the Dragon played out a fabulous opening round match at Alexandra Palace, with an immense 147 from Ding the highlight.

O’Sullivan raced into a 4-0 lead before a fightback from the underdog, which saw him make just the fourth maximum break in Masters history to make the scoreline 4-3.

The world number one was not fazed by the display of brilliance, winning the next two frames and claiming the match 6-3, but he was thoroughly impressed, yet again, by Ding.

‘His cue ball control is better than anybody ever, no one has ever controlled the cue ball like Ding in amongst the balls,’ O’Sullivan told the BBC. ‘It’s just a delight to watch.

‘I’m envious of that game, if you can play snooker like that, with that positional play it’s just a lovely game to play.’

The Rocket added on Eurosport: ‘I fancied he was going to do it from the second or third red. You’ve still got to get perfect on every ball but that’s where Ding is better than anybody else that’s ever played the game, it’s getting perfect on the next ball. His positional play is incredible, it’s pinpoint.’

Speaking before the tournament O’Sullivan said Ding is technically a better player than he is, putting the him alongside John Higgins and Neil Robertson in the elite bracket when it comes to technique.

‘Technically he’s better than me,’ said O’Sullivan of Ding. ‘Technically he’s probably the best player on the circuit along with maybe John Higgins and Neil Robertson.

‘When I’m playing someone like Ding I always wonder how he doesn’t beat me every time. If I had his technical ability I’d fancy winning 6-0, it’s a done deal.

MrQ Masters Snooker 2024 - Day Two

Ding Junhui produced perfection in defeat to O’Sullivan (Picture: Getty Images)

‘But I’ve realised snooker”s not all about that and sport’s not about that all the time. Sometimes it’s about just getting the ball in the hole and getting a result.’

O’Sullivan moves into the quarter-finals where he will face either Robertson or Barry Hawkins and Ding believes he is very motivated to lift the Master title for an eighth time.

‘I think he still wants to win everything,’ said Ding. ‘Sometimes there’s too much pressure but he knows how to do it.

‘The top players like him always know how to play with the pressure, how to play with the bad days, that’s how special he is.’


MORE : Ding Junhui makes just fourth 147 in history of The Masters


MORE : Jack Lisowski overcomes fears to beat struggling Luca Brecel in Masters opener

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