Ding in the hunt for third UK title

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SHEFFIELD based Ding Junhui remains on course for a third UK Championship after resisting a spirited effort from Matthew Stevens to complete a 6-5 win in York.

Masters holder Ding - winner of the UK trophy in 2005 and 2009 - managed to win two out of three scrappy opening frames before the match burst to life in quite spectacular style. A run of 92 enabled the former world championship finalist Stevens to level at 2-2 from trailing 2-0 only for Ding to produce a run of 133 in moving 3-2 clear.

Stevens recovered a 64-0 deficit to pinch the sixth frame with 65 before Ding moved 5-3 ahead with runs of 76 and 65.

Stevens ran in knocks of 67 and 72 to level at 5-5, and looked poised to complete a victory only to somehow break down on 24 among the balls.

Ding kept his composure to produce a winning clearance of 63. He will face a former world champion in the form of Graeme Dott or Neil Robertson in the last eight.