Mark Selby and Ding Junhui both took a stride towards the semi-finals of the Betfred World Championship by taking commanding leads at the Crucible this morning.
Ding built a 6-2 advantage over Mark Williams while Selby leads Kyren Wilson by the same scoreline in the best-of-25 frame quarter-finals.
China’s Ding, hoping to become the first Asian winner of the world title, lost the first frame but then took the next two with top breaks of 74 and 55.
Welshman Williams, champion in 2000 and 2003, made a 70 to level at 2-2, and he had chances in each frame after the interval, but couldn’t take them. Ding, has who dropped out of the top 16 but won three matches to qualify, knocked in runs of 58, 53 and 54 as he went 5-2 ahead. Williams looked set to take the last frame of the session until he missed a red to a centre pocket on 50, and Ding made an excellent 74 clearance to move within seven frames of the next round.
World number one Selby, aiming to repeat his 2014 Crucible triumph, is in control against rising star Wilson. The Leicester cueman won the first two frames on the colours then added the next two with breaks of 69 and 101 to lead 4-0. After the interval, Selby came from 56-6 down to snatch the fifth frame by clearing from the last red, then made a 99 to stretch his lead to 6-0.
Wilson finally got a frame on the board by dominating the seventh. Both players had chances in the last of the session, Selby missing pots on the final green and brown, allowing Wilson to win it by taking brown nd blue to raise his hopes of a fight-back.
Both matches resume at 7pm for eight more frames.