DING Junhui’s revenge mission started perfectly as he nudged into a 5-3 lead against defending champion Mark Selby in the first session of their Betfred World Championship semi-final.
Ding lost out to Selby in last year’s final – but he finished strongly on Thursday and takes a two-frame lead in the best-of-33 encounter.
The 30-year-old secured one of the biggest wins of his career against Ronnie O’Sullivan and said he has the confidence needed to become the first Asian player to lift the title. And it showed in the first session, as he won the final three frames in a high-quality afternoon of snooker.
The pair were on fire in the first four frames, sharing them with a mixture of superb break-building and tight safety. But after the interval, the quality dropped briefly as two scrappy frames were shared – before Ding found a higher gear to claim the last two, including a fine 110 break.
The winner will meet either John Higgins or Barry Hawkins in the final.
* Watch the Snooker World Championship Live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player, with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds