Ding Junhui and Mark Selby take control in the semi-finals

With the tournament switching to a one table format, all eyes were on the last four as the semi-finals began on Thursday.

Ding Junhui and Mark Selby take control in the semi-finals
No Asian player has ever been World Champion (photo: The Guardian)

Ding Junhui and Alan McManus had taken the long route to reach this stage and became the first qualifiers to meet in the semi-finals since 1972.

Destructive Ding shows his class with four centuries from eight frames

Alan McManus was also creating some history for himself, as he made the penultimate round for the first time in 23 years, whilst Ding Junhui was just two steps away from his first Crucible crown.

It was the man from China who settled the nerves the fastest, as he stormed into a 5-0 lead. McManus only managed eight points in an opening three frames that saw Ding create breaks of 100, 84 and 132.

McManus eventually potted some more balls in frame four, but again was overshadowed as Ding formulated a break of 62. The world number 17 then added his third century break of the session in frame five.

McManus did get a score against his name in frame six and added to it in the following frame, though he still could not produce a missing half century. Ding then made 128 in the final frame of the session as he ended the day 6-2 ahead.

Selby wins a nervy opening session for the two highest ranked players left

World number one Mark Selby was involved in a much tighter contest with fellow seed Marco Fu. Selby edged a nervy opening frame for both players, before he then formulated breaks of 56 and 63 to take a 3-0 lead.

Fu responded with a break of 72 to get off the mark, before two more edgy frames were shared between the pair after the mid-session interval. The man from Hong Kong then made the highest break of the session with 89, before Selby finished the day with 69 of his own to hold a 5-3 lead overnight.