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Ding can be dogged, but there’s no stopping the Rocket at Welsh Open

Reigning World and Masters champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has lost just once to Ding Junhui at a tournament. That was in the final of the 2006 Northern Ireland Trophy.

Although Ding holds two victories over the Rocket in Premier League Snooker action, he is second-favourite in every market Coral offer on the Welsh Open final.

O’Sullivan, who has won this ranking tournament twice before (and finished runner-up on two other occasions), has dropped just seven frames en route to this meeting. Junhui, meanwhile, has lost twice as many whilst making it to the final.

Both Ding and the Rocket have made seven centuries – O’Sullivan recording one in every round since the second and three in his 6-2 semi victory over Barry Hawkins – in Newport. You can back Ronnie for the highest break at 8/13 or Junhui at 5/4.

The Welsh Open final is a longer affair than this tournament’s early rounds at the best of 17 frames. O’Sullivan invariably wins these encounters of two sessions or more against Ding, and the Rocket is odds-on at 4/9 in the race to three frames, an even-money leader after four and 2/7 to take the title.

Ronnie is also 8/13 to hit the ground running and win the opener. He has come through a tougher draw on paper, trouncing fellow multiple-time World champion John Higgins 5-1 in the quarters before that rerun of last season’s Crucible final with Hawkins in the last four.

Ding turned over ‘Gentleman’ Joe Perry in the semis, but this was the only name he dispatched that punters may be familiar with. Junhui lacks that look of effortlessness which O’Sullivan brings to the table, but must put his poor record against the Rocket out of his mind if he is to have any hope of winning in Wales.

Stopping Rocket Ronnie looks an impossible task for the Chinese sensation, however. The smart money, as ever in snooker, is on O’Sullivan, so bet now.