12 time ranking event winner Ding saved his country
China A made it through to the quarter-finals of the Little Swan World Cup in Wuxi, beating Hong Kong 3-2 in their last group match thanks to Ding Junhui.
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The winner of the match was sure to go through to the last eight, and with the score at 2-2, Hong Kong’s Marco Fu had the chance to knock out the home favourites. He made a break of 51, but that proved in vain as Ding made a brilliant 67 clearance.
Ding and Liang Wenbo finished the group stage with 17 points, level with Belgium at the top of Group B. Belgian duo Luca Brecel and Jeff Jacobs topped the group having won the match between the two teams earlier in the week.
Belgium lost 3-2 to the Republic of Ireland in their last group game. They went 3-0 down but managed to take the last two frames to ensure pole position.
China A will now face Wales in Saturday’s quarter-finals while Belgium will take on China B.
Australia’s Neil Robertson and Kurt Dunham miss out on the knock out phase
Iran was the last team to make it through to the quarter-finals as they thrashed Malta 5-0 in their final match in Group C.
Going into the last round of matches, English pair Judd Trump and Barry Hawkins were sure to top the group, but second place was in the balance with Iran and Australia the main contenders.
Iran’s Hossein Vafaei and Soheil Vahedi dominated against Malta, winning all five frames. Australia lost 4-1 to England which meant Iran were sure to progress.
They will face Thailand in the quarter-finals while England, who have won a remarkable 22 out of 25 frames so far, will be up against Northern Ireland.