Snooker: Sheffield-based potter reaches second round

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Ding Junhui was reflected on a job well done after easing past Mitchell Mann 4-0 to reach the English Open second round on Monday.

The Sheffield-based Chinese superstar controlled proceedings from start to finish to prevail in the best-of-seven encounter, setting up a last-64 match with either Darryl Hill or countryman Mei Xiwen on Wednesday, although Mann was not without his opportunities.

But for Ding, who made just one 50+ break in the match, his style of play was as important as the result in his bid to take the first title of the Home Nations series at EventCity, Manchester.

“It’s a good start winning the game, particularly the first one back in the UK. I feel good, we both had chances in the match but I took more of them and I’m quite happy,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter what form I’m in, I have to play in a happy way, taking on the shots and enjoying the game.

“I try not to think about how the game is going, but instead thinking of the chances and breaks.”

The season has started on a positive note for Ding, with the two-time UK champion taking the Shanghai Masters after defeating Mark Selby 10-6 in the final – the man who denied him a first World Championship in the spring.

And having taken 12 ranking titles in 11 years, the 29-year-old is now keen to add more consistency to his game.

“It’s a boost to the confidence and that gives me belief to win more tournaments. Hopefully I can keep that form across whole seasons,” he added.

“Every game is different, every opponent is different so I’ll play each game as well as I can and anything else I learn is experience.”

While there was success for Ding, it wasn’t to be for Sheffield’s Adam Duffy, exiting in the first round after a 4-1 defeat to veteran Anthony Hamilton.

Hamilton took the first frame of a scrappy affair and although the world no.100 levelled proceedings, the experience of the 45-year-old – ranked seven places below Duffy – told, as he reeled off the next three frames.

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