2016 World Championship - Ding, first man in final

20:24:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Ding Junhui has just become the first finalist of this year's Betfred World Championship after beating Alan McManus 17-11 in a high quality match which featured no less than 7 century breaks cued by the Chinese player.

"The Chinese Sensation" dropped out of the TOP 16 just at the beginning of the 2016 China Open, this meaning that he had to qualify for the World Championship and win three matches.

Ding admitted that this has made him more relaxed and allowed him to really enjoy his Crucible experience, a place that he himself said wasn't very fond of.

Right from the start of semi-final against Scotland's McManus, Ding proved to be the strongest player leading his opponent 6-2 after the first session and taking the frame of the second one with a tremendous 138 break.

McManus, who had to wait for no less than 23 years to get to the latest stages of the World Championship, pulled back a frame when the first occasion arose, but Ding was sure to enter into the mid-session interval at 9-3 up thanks to runs of 90 and 97.

Still, by the end of the second session Alan was making his way back into the match with just a top break of 125 to win four consecutive frames and trail 9-7.

The third session found the same McManus in the "potting position" as he was now just one behind his opponent, but when Ding hit in breaks of 80 and 47 and almost made a maximum break (which  sadly enough stopped at 113) things didn't look so great for the Scottish player.

Two breaks (59 & 81) were helping him pull back two frame in a row, but Ding took the two remaining ones to go 14-10 up.

The last session started with the same Ding Junhui in charge (he was now 15-10 up), but continued with a 48-minute frame which was actually a genuine display of stamina and wonderful snooker.

The frame ended on the last two colours and it took McManus (who btw has cued like a dream throughout the entire tournament) no less than 15 minutes to pot it in order to get one more frame under his belt.

In the end though, the better player and the strongest of them both prevailed, Ding winning the snooker-crossing with breaks of 123 (thus setting a new record at the Crucible - as this was his 7th century break of the match) and 41 to a final 17-11 scoreline.

So, the first Chinese player to reach a World Championship final and ... he is a qualifier! Who will team up with him for the Grand Final? Will it be Mark Selby, or will it be Marco Fu?