China's Ding Junhui races into world snooker semi-finals – and Hong Kong’s Marco Fu is not far behind
No Asian player has ever won snooker’s most prestigious title but Ding wins in style and Fu is in control of his quarter-final
China’s Ding Junhui became the first player to reach the semi-finals of this year’s World Snooker Championship after thrashing Mark Williams 13-3 inside two sessions on Tuesday.
Williams, world champion in 2000 and 2003, was largely reduced to the role of a spectator, as Ding – who had to come through qualifying – made short work of seeing off the Welshman.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Marco Fu Ka-chun put himself in a great position to join Ding in the last four, taking a 7-1 lead against England’s Barry Hawkins at the end of their first session.
Ding scored at least a half-century in every frame he won as he increased his first-session lead from 6-2 to 10-2 at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre in northern England.
Williams potted a mere two balls before the mid-session interval and, although he won the 13th frame, the two-time champion could not stop Ding’s march to victory.
“I played really well,” Ding told World Snooker. “From the first session I was winning 6-2 and I kept going and played well again.
“Mark didn’t have much luck, some bad kicks, so I got some easy shots and made breaks.
“I’ll enjoy the day off tomorrow (Wednesday), rest and get ready for the next one,” he added ahead of a semi-final that will see him face either John Higgins or Alan McManus.
Four-time world champion Higgins has a 5-3 overnight lead against his fellow Scot in a match set to conclude on Wednesday.
But Ding said: “It doesn’t matter who I play. I’ll just do it the way I did and think about myself. It doesn’t feel a lot of pressure this time.”
No Asian player has ever won the world title but Ding could be joined in this year’s last four by Fu.
Hawkins beat snooker great Ronnie O’Sullivan 13-12 on Monday, surviving a fightback by the five-time world champion that saw him level at 12-12 before he regained his composure to win in a final-frame decider.
The Englishman appeared to have an idea of what was coming against Fu when he said: “I’ve got another really tough game against Marco so I will just concentrate on that. If Marco gets going he can score as well as anybody.”
Hawkins’ words proved prophetic as Fu won the first four frames before a break of 81 sent the Hong Kong cueman into a 5-0 lead.
O’Sullivan’s conqueror won the sixth frame but Fu took the next two to establish a significant lead in the best of 25-frame contest ahead of Wednesday’resumption.