However, in an incredible moment, the cue ball rolled off to the left so Ding missed the brown and fouled, which handed four points to his opponent.
Kicks, as they are called in snooker, are not unusual and neither is a small change in direction when the cue ball or object ball is travelling a long distance.
But, a complete change in direction is bizarre and Eurosport commentators David Hendon and Dominic Dale were left completely puzzled.
“Oh look at that, wow,” said Hendon. “It has taken a left turn.”
Dale added: “What happened there? Did the cue ball catch a finger mark and veer off line? Never seen that before.”
Clarke took advantage of the situation by potting a long red but went on to lose the frame and match as Ding made a break of 67 to advance into the quarter-finals.
O’Sullivan next for Ding in quarter-finals
Ronnie O’Sullivan is next for Ding with the pair taking centre stage on Friday afternoon at the Barbican.
It will be the 29th meeting between the pair, with Ding beating O’Sullivan in their last UK Championship match in 2019 on his way to the title.
Ding is looking forward to playing the seven-time world champion as he looks for a fourth Triple Crown title.
“It’s great to play against him [O’Sullivan] again,” said Ding, who has only beaten The Rocket five times. “Hopefully I can play the same and play good and show some fight.
“There’s not much pressure, maybe because I went through the qualifying rounds. I think it helped in the first round because there is huge pressure for the top 16 [players].
“The new rules for the UK Championship are good because the match quality is there and anyone can win. It’s 50-50. This is good for everybody.”
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