Ding Junhui cruises past Mark Williams in just two sessions

Ding Junhui is the first man to reach this year's semi-final stage at the Crucible.

Ding Junhui cruises past Mark Williams in just two sessions
Ding Junhui is in fine form at the Crucible (photo: Eurosport)

With the players ranked outside of the top sixteen in the world having to face three qualifying matches to reach the Crucible, such a concept became a big talking point as to whether it would be beneficial or detrimental to those who qualified. In the case of world number 17 Ding Junhui it has certainly been the former.

Ding in tip top condition

Ding missed out on automatic qualification when Stephen Maguire reached the semi-finals of the China Open to leapfrog Ding into sixteenth spot just a fortnight before the World Championship began. Yet Ding powered through qualification and has now been in excellent form to dismiss three seeds on his way to the last four of the competition.

His game really moulded together against former world champion Mark Williams. With the Welshman claiming his task was "almost impossible" after splitting his tip earlier in the week, Ding cruised into a 6-2 lead after the first session.

He then came out all guns blazing to deliver breaks of 109, 52, 95 and 73 to win four consecutive frames at the beginning of Tuesday evening's second session, as Williams potted just two balls before the mid-session interval.

Williams did manage to edge the thirteenth frame as he found a smidging of form, but went on to lose the next three frames as Ding Junhui secured his passage to the semi-finals with a session to spare. The man from China composed twelve half centuries in his thirteen winning frames as he prepares for a last four clash with Alan McManus or John Higgins.

Selby sneaks closer to semis

World number one Mark Selby had been in terrific form to take a 6-0 lead over Kyren Wilson in their first session, before the youngster edged the match back to 6-2. Selby was a lot more nervy in the second session but moved just three frames away from a semi-final spot with nine to play.

The pair took it in turns to win three out of four frames, with Wilson taking the first batch before a revival from Selby. In a lacklustre session, both players managed just two half century breaks between them, with Wilson top scoring on 87. The English duo conclude their match on Wednesday morning.