Ding Junhui’s hopes of winning the World Championship for the first time have took a major dent today after an impressive performance from Barry Hawkins put him on the verge of victory.
Hawkins just needs two more frames to clinch a place in the World Championship semi-finals after taking a commanding overnight lead of 11-5.
And the scoreline was fully deserved as Hawkins outclassed a misfiring Ding in all departments to take full control of the quarter-final clash at The Crucible Theatre.
Hawkins, who reached the 2013 World Championship semi-final, has been in strong form ahead of this year’s World Championship after reaching the finals of both the Welsh Open and the China Open after a difficult start to the season due to personal problems.
But after gritty wins against Stuart Carrington and Lyu Haotian, Hawkins produced his strongest performance yet in the tournament as Ding struggled to deliver the goods on the first day of the quarter-finals.
The first two frames were shared before breaks of 82 and 50 gave Hawkins an early 3-1 lead at the start of the morning.
Ding, bidding to become Asian’s first ever World Championship winner, won the next frame with a run of 76 but Hawkins came back to restore a two-frame lead at 4-2.
China’s number one star then made it 4-3 only for Hawkins to ensure a lead ahead of the night’s second session by winning the eighth frame.
After the restart Hawkins began his charge as Ding struggled to produce his best form. Breaks of 60, 73 and 76 gave Hawkins a commanding 8-3 lead.
A century break from Ding made it 8-4 and he dominated the next to reduce his arrears to 8-5 but Hawkins took full advantage of some bad misses from his opponent to win the next three frames.
The match resumes at 10am on Wednesday with Hawkins needing just two more frames to secure a place in his fifth World Championship semi-final. Ding Junhui has been left with a mountain to climb.