“He said some nice things to me,” O’Sullivan said. “And I just said ‘Look, you played like a man there’. A few years ago he would have cracked but he didn’t and I said ‘That’s what you have to do to win the title’.
“He’s experienced enough to know that. It’s not that Ding can’t win under pressure, it’s just about having that belief that [Mark] Selby has.
“Selby has an unshaken belief. But if Ding goes behind he is liable to go. Though under pressure at 9-9 he’s as good as anyone, so it’s not as if he can’t handle it – it’s just more of a mental thing.
“I didn’t know what to do [regarding embrace]. But he kind of leant into me and whispered into my ear. So I thought I’d give him a bit of feedback. I love him, he’s such a lovely guy.”