Day five at the championship and as the first round draws to a close many will be just starting to wonder,could this be the year Ding Junhui makes a real challenge for the games biggest prize.
On paper his match today with Martin Gould always looked like it could be a tasty one and so it proved as it ebbed and flowed al day to the delight of the packed crowd.
Into the match and it was Ding who got off to a flyer,with only an horrendous kick on the pink stopping him from leading 3-0.He steadied himself though to lead 3-1 at the mid session interval,On resumption,the next four were shared,before an astonishing 111,that really had to be seen to be believed brought Gould within one at 5-4.
In to the night session then and the momentum seemed to be with Gould as he won he three of the first four to lead for the first time in the match at 7-6.
Then came what appeared to be the pivotal moment as leading by 46 with only one red remaining,Ding somehow managed to lose the frame to trail by two at 8-6,
Just how would the Chinese respond after such a hammer blow? Well the answer was by stepping up and producing his A game
Runs of 132 & 84 drew Ding level at 8-8,before another century put him ahead again at 9-8.Gould had now not potted a ball for half an hour,but although he did have his chance in the next, a missed final red was to be his last chance as Ding cleared the colours to win 10-8.
Ding will no doubt be filled with confidence and its possible that his early exit in so many tournaments this season could prove to be a blessing in disguise as he has very few miles on the clock this yr.
Looking at the draw.most would have looked at a possible round two clash between Ding &Judd \Trump as a tie not to miss,but an all Chinese affair is looking the more likely as Liang Wenbo opened up a 6-3 overnight against Trump this afternoon in an at times scrappy session.Trump will certainly have to up his game when they resume tomorrow afternoon if he is to avoid joining the growing list of seeded casualties.
Another seed with work to do is Joe Perry who lost the last three of tonights session to trail Kyren Wilson 5-4 overnight.
Elsewhere in other matches that finished today,Mark Allen quickly booked his last 16 place,taking the four frames he needed to beat Mitchell Mann 10-3 and Barry Hawkins set up yet another Crucible encounter with old adversary Ronnie O'Sullivan,finishing off his match against Zhang Anda 10-5.
Tomorrow of course we only have two sessions as Round one draws to a close and the opening shots of round two are fired in anger.