Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

Ding Junhui will face Mark Allen in the UK Snooker Championship final after the Northern Irishman made an exciting comeback beating Jack Lisowski late at night.

Three-time champion Ding beat Tom Ford 6-3 at the Barbican in York to reach his fourth final. Ding hit Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-0 in the quarterfinals and the world No. 1 was whitewashed for the first time in a triple crown event in his 30-year career.

“I missed a great chance to win 6-0. I made wrong choices with colored balls and he started playing more comfortably. I averted my eyes a little and maybe a little lost my concentration. He missed nothing in the last few frames. I love playing here, I’ve loved it here since I first beat Steve Davis in 2005. I always feel good at Barbican.”

Ding is aiming to win the title he last won in 2019, taking a 5-0 lead and giving the cards another whitewash. However, world number 32 Ford, who beat Joe Perry 6-4 in the quarterfinals, returned to bring the score 5-3 with 77, 64 and 64 timeouts. Another break of 64 gave him a 5-4 chance. however, Ding took the ninth frame 75-64 to advance to the final.

Ding will face Allen after making an exciting comeback to beat Lisowski 6-5 in Saturday’s match. Throwing four stones over the summer, Allen is enjoying a renaissance and is bidding for his second title of the season after successfully defending the Northern Ireland Open title in October. Prior to that, he also reached the British Open final, where he lost to Ryan Day.

Lisowski had done four centuries in a row to beat Shaun Murphy in the final round, and his two half-century runs helped him take a 2-0 lead. Allen made it past third frame before a 63-time timeout advanced the game into the mid-session range.

After switching frames after the restart, Lisowski capitalized when Allen missed a long pot chance to get a red 4-3 along the top band and then closed the next frame to move in sight of victory.

Allen, however, responded with a gap of 115 to take the ninth frame and a 74 margin on the next frame, after being allowed to return to the table to challenge a decision maker. Both men turned down a chance to close the game, and Allen lost the position after a 36-point break before Lisowski made 57.

Allen then left the yellow in the middle, but Lisowski missed the green, which proved costly as the Northern Irishman paved the way to complete another notable turn.

“I have no idea [how I won], that was terrible,” Allen said. “I just got in there and I stayed really strong mentally, but there was no part of my game tonight. It was just a struggle from the start and I don’t know why I’m sitting here as a winner. Jack was a much better player. Just maybe my experience has said, but I’ll have to improve tomorrow.