Ding Junhui is doing it the hard way in the World Open

Ding Junhui’s hopes of defending his World Open crown are still intact – but he is certainly doing it the hard way.

The home favourite just about squeezed through his opening round match against James Wattana on Monday by winning a final frame decider.

And today the 2017 World Championship finalist came back from 3-1 behind to beat fellow Chinese star Yuan Sijun 5-3.

Ding Junhui. Picture by Monique Limbos

Ding, who is just days away from becoming a father for the first time, reeled off four frames on the bounce to avoid a major upset on the second day of the World Open – a tournament he won twelve months ago.

The victory means Ding will next face Robert Milkins for a place in the Last 16.

Elsewhere, world number one Mark Selby battled his way through to the third round after a 5-3 win over Elliot Slessor.

World champion Mark Williams appeared to be back on top form as breaks of 52, 61, 104 and 60 helped him to a 5-1 win over Alexander Ursenbacher.

Judd Trump also impressed in his first big game of the season as he comfortably beat Martin O’Donnell with breaks of 54, 84, 54 and 73.

Masters winner Mark Allen enjoyed a fine win over last season’s impressive Chinese star Lyu Haotian. Allen won 5-1 with a highest break of 103.

And Riga Masters winner Neil Robertson enjoyed a 5-1 win against Andy Lee. Robertson also knocked in the tournament’s highest break so far of 132.

While the comeback win of the day went to Andrew Higginson who hit back from 3-0 down against James Cahill – who on Monday beat Liang Wenbo – to win 5-4.

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