Efficient Ding shows rookie Keogan no mercy in Barnsley

DING Junhui is one of the favourites for every tournament he enters but after winning Tuesday's battle of South Yorkshire, the snooker superstar claims his main goal this week is simply conserving energy.

Ding Junhui.
Ding Junhui.

The Sheffield-based Chinese cueman beat Doncaster’s Chris Keogan in the first round of the Dafabet English Open in Barnsley, cruising to a 4-1 triumph.

That included a fluent break of 113 in frame two, as Ding set up a clash with world No 28 Michael White in round two today.

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The 30-year-old has already won the World Open in Yushan, China, this season but has been picking and choosing his events in the campaign’s early going.

With the International Championship, Champion of Champions, Shanghai Masters, Northern Ireland Open, UK Championship and Scottish Open all to be crammed in before Christmas, that may yet prove to be a shrewd tactic.

And the world No 2 is certainly wary of burnout.

“I have to get ready for the long run of tournaments and take them one by one,” said Ding.

“I can’t put too much energy into one match or one shot. I have to keep rolling and get the right rhythm.

“I feel different before every tournament and for this one, I’m just coming to play and do my best because there’s another three or four tournaments coming in a row.

“I don’t want to think about all the travelling coming up, I’ve just come to play and do my best.

“I’m happy to win against Chris and I’ll try to win the tournament but whatever happens, I’ll take it on to the next tournament.”

Ding is unsurprisingly content with the state of his game at the minute.

“I feel good when I’m playing and I’ve got good cue-ball control at the minute,” he added. “Everything is going well, I feel good and I’m not worrying about my matches.”

The rest of the Yorkshire contingent in action on Tuesday were knocked out as, firstly, Pickering potter Paul Davison went down to John Astley. Astley made breaks of 58, 71 and 56 at the Metrodome Leisure Complex as the 46-year-old Davison let a 2-1 lead slip to eventually crash out 4-2 to his Gateshead-based opponent.

And in the evening session, Leeds’s David Grace, 32, was outclassed 4-1 by two-time world champion Mark Williams.

Watch the English Open LIVE on Eurosport 1 and Quest, featuring daily studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.