Ding Junhui made a fine start to his Betfred World Championship semi-final against Alan McManus, making four century breaks as he took a 6-2 lead.
China’s Ding is playing in his second Crucible semi, having lost the other to Judd Trump in 2011, and aiming to become the first Asian player to reach the world final.
Having dropped out of the top 16 he had to win three qualifying matches just to make it to the final stages, but has grown in confidence as the tournament has progressed and now looks in ominous form. He now needs 11 of the last 25 frames to book a place in the final against Mark Selby or Marco Fu.
McManus played brilliantly to beat John Higgins last night and the 45-year-old is the oldest Crucible semi-finalist since 1985, when Ray Reardon reached the last four at the age of 52. The Scot has struggled to contain his opponent so far and will be determined to fight back in the second session.
Ding dominated the first five frames today, firing breaks of 100, 84, 131, 62 and 100 to go 5-0 up. McManus gained a foothold in the match by taking the next two frames with a top run of 46. But Ding finished the session in style with a 128 to secure a four frame overnight lead.
The match resumes at 10am on Friday.