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China's Ding becomes first Asian player to reach snooker worlds fina

(Xinhua)    10:03, May 01, 2016
China's Ding becomes first Asian player to reach snooker worlds fina
Ding Junhui of China reacts during the semifinal match against Alan McManus of Scotland at the World Snooker Championship 2016 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England on April 30, 2016. Ding became the first Chinese finalist in the World Championship history after defeating Alan McManus 17-11. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

China's Ding Junhui became the first Asian player to reach the final of the snooker world championship after beating Alan McManus 17-11 here on Saturday.

The 29-year-old, who reached last four in 2011 but lost to Judd Trump, will fight for the title against Englishman Mark Selby, who defeated Marco Fu of Hong Kong, China, 17-15 in the other semifinal. The final will be held over 35 frames on Sunday and Monday, with a top prize of 330,000 pounds.

Ding, a winner of 11 ranking events, also set a record by becoming the first player to make seven centuries in a single match at the Crucible.

The Chinese star has fallen from world No. 1 to 17th and had to win three qualifying rounds to make it to the main draw.

McManus, 45, was the oldest semifinalist at the world championship in 31 years and was playing in the last four for the first time since 1993. He made a strong comeback from 6-2 down in the first session, making it 12-10 after the second one, but Ding crucially won the last two frames to lead by four.

Ding also won the first frame in the fourth session to extend his lead to 15-10. The next came down to a safety battle on the colours and McManus potted brown and blue to lead by 16 points. Ding got the snooker he needed on the pink, but after a tactical exchange McManus potted a long pink to pull one back.

Ding made 123 then, his seventh century of the match and 12th of the tournament, to extend the lead to 16-11, and he soon secured victory in frame 28.

"I want to be excited but my heart is like normal," said Ding said. "The tournament hasn't finished yet and the last match starts tomorrow. I want to keep my focus.

"This season hasn't been good but in the last two months I have started to play well. Now I'm so confident to play anybody and just play snooker. This is the happiest I could be."

McManus, who wins 66,000 pounds is up to 20th in the rankings, said: "Overall I am a bit disappointed. The best man won and you've got to face that. The scoring Ding produced was up there with anything that has ever been seen here.

"The way Ding is playing, you've got to make him favourite. He has improved his match awareness. He takes his time and gets the job done. He's a bit more economical with his game and doesn't take on as many balls that are potentially damaging. That makes him a tough guy to play against as he doesn't take many risks."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor:Gao Yinan,Bianji)

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