I wrote this in the UK Championship thread.
Ding is very much a confidence player.
He can be amongst the best in the world, if he believes he's amongst the best in the world. But when he suffers a crisis of confidence his form dips, his confidence gets worse and it's a downward spiral. Look how long it took him to regain confidence after the Ronnie Masters loss. Several seasons.
Then suddenly, he wins a title in China, a place he's been struggling for years, and he wins five rankers in a season. Several of which were in China.
He swings from elite level player to club level player, are very much determined in how he is confidence wise.
I think that pretty much sums Ding up. He's almost as hard to predict as Ronnie. Wouldn't surprise me if he did drop out of the top-16, but at the same time, a good run of form and he could win a ranker.