The final of 2014 China Open will see two of the players who have forged the narrative of this season square off against each other as ,defending champion Neil Robertson takes on,four time ranking winner this season Ding Junhui for the top prize of £ 85,000.
I'd say if anyone told Neil Robertson last Monday that he would be in the final tomorrow he would have laughed at them,such was the state of his health as he battled the flu,but to his credit he battled for every ball all week and in the last two days has seemed to be back to something approaching normality.The manner of his victory today over Ali Carter will certainly be a tonic to him.
As Robertson fought his demons earlier in the week the matches were characterized by scrappy frames,but that wasn't the case here,as breaks of 69,79 & 70 saw him open up a 4-0 lead.Carter briefly rallied after the interval,taking the fifth on the black having come from well behind & the closing to 4-2 with a break of 106 .This revival was to prove short lived however a 67 break moved Robertson to 5-2 & he cleared to win the next and seal his final place with a 6-2 victory.
His final opponent will be home favourite Ding Junhui after the Chinese brought the fairytale run of Mike Dunn to an end with a comfortable 6-0 win. Ding was not at his free flowing best here,but in truth he didn't have to be,as Dunn failed to take advantage of any scoring chances that came his way.
This all of course wont matter the Ding whose remarkable season rolls on.This will be his sixth ranking final of the season and with four already in the bag he will really be up for the fight to equal Hendrys record of five in a season.Strangely,considering for how long playing at home seemed to weigh heavily on his shoulders,the fact that this final will be before such an enthusiastic crowd may well help him achieve this.
For that reason,plus the fact that I feel Robertsons exertions this week will have to eventually take there toll I'm going for a Ding win by a score of something around 10-6