Ding keeps title defence hopes alive after dramatic victory

Ding Junhui. Picture by Monique Limbos

Ding Junhui. Picture by Monique Limbos

DING JUNHUI stands just two more wins away from winning his first major event of the season after he recorded a dramatic win over John Higgins in the China Open.

Huge cheers from the Beijing crowd were heard when Ding potted the last few balls of a dramatic final frame against the four times world champion – winning the quarter-final encounter 5-4.

Ding, who beat Neil Robertson in last year’s China Open final, was made to do it the hard way after Higgins took a 4-3 advantage going into the business end of the match.

But China’s number one star, who has shown some of his best form of the season this week, won a much-needed eighth frame to force a decider.

The final frame was one of the best seen so far in the tournament with several twists and turns. But it was to be Ding’s day after Higgins missed a cut on the final green which needed to find the pocket.

The green was left near the baulk corner pocket and Ding did the rest to ensure his hopes of defending his title were kept on course.

Ding will next face world number 56 Gary Wilson who reached his first semi-final in a major ranking event after an impressive display saw him defeat former World Championship finalist Barry Hawkins.

Earlier in the day both Mark Selby and Norway based Kurt Maflin booked their place into the last four of the tournament with final frame shootout wins over Robert Milkins and Shaun Murphy respectively.

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