/ Snooker

Ding Junhui on course for second round at World Championship

Updated: Tuesday, 23 Apr 2013 14:33 | Comments

Ding Junhui looks to be on his way to a comfortable victory over Alan McManus
Ding Junhui looks to be on his way to a comfortable victory over Alan McManus

Ding Junhui was firmly on course to reach the second round of the Betfair World Championship as he rushed five frames clear of Alan McManus.

Former Crucible semi-finalist McManus is making his first appearance at the tournament in Sheffield since 2006, having come through the qualifying rounds.

But the 42-year-old Glaswegian faded after making a decent start to the match, and Ding fired two centuries among a raft of big breaks to move 7-2 ahead in a match that concludes tomorrow morning.

He made, in order, runs of 131, 67, 61, 129, 51 and 81 to glide three frames away from the last 16.

Ding's World Championship record is mystifying, considering he is a multiple winner of major ranking titles elsewhere.

He has only gone beyond the second round once, in 2011, when he lost in the semi-finals to Judd Trump and last year lost 10-9 to Ryan Day from 9-6 in front in round one.

That collapse meant there was hope for McManus, but his highest break in the opening nine frames was just 47, and such scoring form presented no threat to Ding.

China's number one player might have expected Mark Allen to be waiting for him in the second round, but the Northern Ireland potter suffered a surprise defeat last night to Mark King.

Hong Kong's Marco Fu also began well, building a 6-3 lead against Welsh hope Matthew Stevens.

Stevens had the highest break of the session, a snappy 83 in frame four that halted an early charge from Fu, but the 35-year-old Carmarthen potter will be up against it tomorrow afternoon when they play to a finish.

Ding and Fu both abandoned the custom of walking out to music at the start of play, in a show of respect for the victims of the China earthquake that has left over 180 dead.

Ding also played the session wearing a black armband.

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