Ding Junhui moved within two wins of a successful defence of his Bank of Communications OTO Shanghai Masters title as he beat Graeme Dott 5-2 in the quarter-finals.
Home favourite Ding, who won five ranking titles last season, will face Stuart Bingham in Saturday’s second semi-final, with Mark Selby taking on Mark Allen in the first.
Ding went 2-0 up today with a top break of 52 before Dott pulled one back with an 89. The next two frames were shared before Ding compiled runs of 101 and 56 to seal victory.
“I wasn’t comfortable today, the balls played heavy and it was difficult to screw back,” admitted Ding. “Rain was the reason and it affected both of us. But I took my chances, especially the key shots. When it came down to colours I played good safety and managed to close out the match as soon as possible.
“Stuart Bingham is good at both potting and safety and he has enjoyed his most consistent period over the last few years, with many good tournament runs. So it’s going to be tough tomorrow.”
Bingham impressed in a 5-1 win over Alan McManus, his top break 114. “I took a lot of confidence into the match and I tried to punish Alan as much as I could,” said Basildon’s Bingham. “It’s my first semi-final here and it will be great to play Ding in his home country. I’m 38 but I feel as if I’m 21 and coming into my prime. I’m enjoying tournaments and long may that continue.”
Selby cruised to a 5-0 win over Fergal O’Brien with a top run of 76. The World Champion and world number one said: “I’m happy to have won although the performance wasn’t fantastic. Fergal really struggled. I was in bed ill for four or five days last week so I didn’t practise much, I just had to make sure I was healthy enough to come here.”
Allen won an exciting battle 5-4 against Michael White to keep alive his hopes of a second title within a month having won the Paul Hunter Classic. Breaks of 83, 55 and 74 helped put Allen 4-1 up before White fought back to 4-4 with rapid runs of 85, 83 and 76.
Welshman White, bidding to reach the first ranking semi-final of his career, had chances in the decider and led 32-7 at one point, but Allen recovered to win it on the colours.
“Michael got some confidence at 4-1 and made three great breaks,” said Allen. “He probably deserved to win the match. At the start I just tried to avoid making it easy for him because he was under pressure, but that affected my own game. I should have just tried to play my natural game – I really didn’t perform today. But I’m still in the tournament so I can get better.
“I’ve had good games with Mark Selby in the past. I need to start showing what I’m capable of because I’m in the semi-finals and I’ve played no better than 50 per cent. I’ll need to be close to my best tomorrow.”