Ding Junhui dominated the second session of his quarter-final clash with Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Betfred World Championship, taking a 10-6 lead to move within three frames of victory.
China’s Ding won six of the eight frames tonight to leave crowd favourite O’Sullivan facing an uphill task in the concluding session, which starts at 2.30pm on Wednesday. The Rocket made numerous unforced errors as his hopes of winning a sixth Crucible crown took a blow.
World number four Ding reached the final for the first time last year and hopes to go all the way to the title this time. Victory over O’Sullivan would set up a semi-final against Mark Selby or Marco Fu.
Ding won the first frame tonight with a break of 63 to go 5-4 ahead, and he led 42-0 in the next only for O’Sullivan to hit back with an 84 clearance. In frame 11 Ding made 64 then his opponent had a chance to clear but lost position in potting the last red and missed the black.
That changed the momentum as 30-year-old Ding swept through the next four frames with top breaks of 65, 120, 59 and 58 to go 10-5 in front. O’Sullivan badly needed to win the last frame of the session and he did so with a run of 104 which took just five minutes, the fastest century of the tournament so far. But he still needs seven of the last nine frames to survive.
Meanwhile, John Higgins is just two frames away from the last four as he extended his advantage over Kyren Wilson to 11-5. Wizard of Wishaw Higgins, who lifted the trophy in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011, will face Barry Hawkins or Stephen Maguire if he can get to 13 on Wednesday morning.
Higgins is seeking his fourth title of the season and looks in excellent form, scoring five centuries and 18 more breaks over 50 in the tournament so far.
Wilson’s chances were affected this morning when his cue tip was damaged with the score at 3-3, and he has won just two of the ten frames since. Higgins led 5-3 after the first session and made a 129 in the first frame tonight before making a colours clearance to go 7-3 up.
Kettering’s Wilson pulled one back but barely left his seat in the next two frames as 41-year-old Higgins fired 74 and 135 to lead 9-4. Wilson continued to battle and made a 97 to win frame 14, but Higgins won the last two of the session to secure a commanding overnight lead.