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WPBSA World Championship: Chinese won three qualifying matches to reach main draw

Reporter: Mike Fox 丨 CCTV.com

05-03-2016 15:54 BJT

It was an amazing run for Ding, but he came up just short. It was a bit of a surprise considering he did not start off 2016 playing well, but his journey at the Crucible could be a boost for the top Chinese snooker player to keep improving.

Winning the right to play in the final for snooker's top prize, Ding made history by becoming the first Asian to play in the title match.

Even though he was ranked as high as second last year, Ding was a surprise finalist.

SHEFFIELD, May 3, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Ding Junhui (C) of China poses during the awarding ceremony after the final with Mark Selby of England at the World Snooker Championship 2016 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England on May 2, 2016. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

SHEFFIELD, May 3, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Ding Junhui (C) of China poses during the awarding ceremony after the final with Mark Selby of England at the World Snooker Championship 2016 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England on May 2, 2016. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

The Chinese was definitely not at his best early in the year. After being knocked out in the first round of the Masters by Stuart Bingham, Ding fell to Neil Robertson in the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open.

Even at the most recent China Open, the home favorite failed to survive the qualifying, losing 5-1 to Lee Walker. He looked tired and out of focus at the tournament he won in 2005 when he rose to fame.

And it was a difficult run to get to the showpiece at the Crucible. Because he was ranked 17th in the world, he had to go through qualification in order get into the main draw.

The 29-year-old needed to survive three matches in the qualifying phase before taking on Martin Gould in the first round.

Ding Junhui said, "I think I made great improvement at the tournament this year. I have not been in good form since the start of the season. But this time, I am more focused and improved my play earlier, and got a competitive edge throughout. So, I think my performance is fairly good this year at the event."

After seeing off Gould, Ding faced title contender Judd Trump. The Chinese held the advantage for most of the contest, even though Trump threatened to comeback in the late stages. Ding finally holding off the 2011 finalist 13-10 to reach the quarterfinals.

Against Mark Williams, Ding played even better, beating the Welsh veteran 13-3.

By making it to the semi-finals, he duplicated his success of 2011, when he fell to Trump in the last four.

The semis is a best of 33 frames. In the marathon contest with Alan McManus, Ding remained focused throughout. The Chinese eventually downing the 45-year-old Scot 17-11. That victory means that Ding becomes the first Asian to reach the Title Match at the Crucible.

Ding said, "I felt good this time at the World Championship. In the future, no matter what tournament I'll be playing, I won't forget the experience this year. I hope I can keep the momentum going. As for my next tournament, I hope I can retain my competitive edge this time."

Even trailing 6-0 against Selby, he was able to stay competitive, and close the gap against the World number one. Despite losing 18-14 at the hands of Selby, his achievement earned him admiration from the spectators.

His performance at the Crucible showing the potential that Ding possesses.

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