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O'Sullivan has mountain to climb as Ding piles on pressure

 

By Charlie Bennett

Ronnie O'Sullivan faces a major fight to stay in the Betfred World Championship after an inspired Ding Junhui moved 10-6 ahead at the Crucible Theatre last night.

The Chinese ace was supreme from the off and an increasingly dejected O'Sullivan struggled throughout, with Ding punishing every error in the best-of-25 encounter.

O'Sullivan gave himself hope by winning the last frame of the session with a gritty 104, giving him some momentum heading into today's deciding session.

Entering the evening locked at 4-4, it was Ding who struck first with a composed clearance before O'Sullivan hit back.

Ding, who has not beaten O'Sullivan in a ranking event since 2006, made a steady break of 64 in the third frame to move 6-5 ahead.

And the five-time champion wobbled in frame 12, missing a regulation red which allowed Ding to produce a superb 65 to win.

From there, Ding's confidence visibly grew. A superb 120 kicked off the second half of the session, before further knocks of 59 and 56 put him in control despite O'Sullivan's century.

Across the theatre in the £1.75million showpiece event, John Higgins also took a major step towards the last four as he opened up a 11-5 lead against Kyren Wilson.

The four-time champion was immense in the balls, with superb centuries of 129 and 135.

Elsewhere, defending champion Mark Selby dominated the opening session in his quarter-final against Marco Fu and leads 6-2.

The Leicester star could meet Ding in the last four in a repeat of last year's superb final.

Barry Hawkins leads Stephen Maguire 5-3 overnight.

Watch the Snooker World Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player, with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds

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