Snooker World Championships

Ding storms into semi-final lead against McManus, Hong Kong’s Fu trails world number one Selby

Chinese races into a 6-2 lead over Scot after hitting four centuries in the first session of the World Championship semi-finals on Thursday

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 April, 2016, 9:30am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 April, 2016, 10:20am

Ding Junhui raced into a 6-2 lead over Alan McManus as the Chinese star hit four centuries in the first session of the World Championship semi-finals on Thursday.

Ding is bidding to become the first Asian to win the sport’s showpiece event after having to qualify for the tournament following his recent slide out of the world’s top 16.

The 29-year-old has been in brilliant form at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, eliminating Martin Gould and Judd Trump in the first two rounds before winning his quarter-final against Mark Williams 13-3 with a session to spare.

Ding began his bid to reach the final in the same blistering form, with breaks of 100, 84 and 131 taking him into a 3-0 lead against the shell-shocked McManus, who at 45 is the oldest man to reach a Crucible semi since Ray Reardon in 1985.

Prospect of all-Chinese world snooker championship final as Hong Kong’s Marco Fu joins mainlander Ding Junhui in semis

He added the fourth and made another 100 break to go 5-0 up before McManus, in the last four for the first time since 1993, finally got on the board in frame six.

A precise long red helped the Scot take the next as well but Ding rattled in a 128 in the last frame of the session for a 6-2 advantage.

The final could yet be an all-Asian affair, with Hong Kong’s world number 14 Marco Fu playing Mark Selby in the other semi-final.

At the end of their opening session, 2014 world champion Selby was 5-3 ahead.

China's Ding Junhui races into world snooker semi-finals – and Hong Kong’s Marco Fu is not far behind

World number one Selby raced to a 3-0 lead with half-century breaks in frames two and three.

But Fu hit back with a 72, and the pair shared four frames after the mid-session interval.