John Higgins and Ding Junhui move a step closer in Crucible quest

John Higgins and Ding Junhui move a step closer in Crucible quest

Kyren Wilson and Ronnie O'Sullivan have it all to do against their respective opponents.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

John Higgins is in prime position to become the first player to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2017 World Championships after opening up an 11-5 advantage over Kyren Wilson.

Ding Junhui has also established a good foundation after developing a 10-6 lead over the formidable Ronnie O'Sullivan as the Crucible prepares for an exciting day of quarter-final action.

Higgins accelerates after a tight opening

Outsider Wilson kept up with Higgins for much of the first session on Tuesday. Breaks of 92 and 61 overshadowed a 60 from Higgins as the pair were locked at 2-2 and then 3-3. However, frame seven proved to be a pivotal point in the contest as the four-time World Champion found his range to win six of the next seven frames.

Higgins made compelling breaks of 62, 59, 129 in consecutive frames before a couple of tight tactical contests were followed with successive contributions of 74 and 135. Wilson did respond in frame fourteen to reduce the gap to four frames, only for Higgins to apply his dominance again with the final two frames of the session.

Ding and O'Sullivan produce top class sessions

Many have tipped Ronnie O'Sullivan to become World Champion for the sixth time this year but China's Ding Junhui proved to be more than a match in two high-quality sessions that saw breaks over 50 in all sixteen frames.

Ding opened an early advantage with the first three frames as he compiled breaks of 71, 128 and 71 again with O'Sullivan managing just nineteen points. Yet the Rocket soon recovered as five successive compilations between 50 and 99 saw him draw level at the end of the session, with Ding snatching a critical frame in the seventh.

The evening session was all about the best snooker player in the Far East. After exchanging the first two frames, Ding won five on the bounce to open up a comfortable advantage with a break of 120 in frame thirteen proving to be a highlight. O'Sullivan finally manufactured his first century of the match in the last frame of the day but has it all to do on Wednesday.

Ding is hunting his first World Championship (photo: Getty Images)
Ding is hunting his first World Championship (photo: Getty Images)

Selby and Hawkins formulate early leads

World number one Mark Selby is hoping to play the winner of that match and he set the precedent in the first session against Marco Fu as he established a 6-2 lead. Fu failed to score in four of the first five frames as he watched breaks of 82, 70 and 94 as he went 5-0 down. The man from Hong Kong did respond with two of the last three frames but with a top break of 60, Fu has to improve in the final two sessions to have any hope of progressing.

Barry Hawkins is looking to stop the in-form Stephen Maguire as the pair played out a low-scoring first session. The duo shared one half century break apiece as Hawkins won five consecutive frames to take a 5-1 lead. However, two late tactical victories for Maguire ensured that the last qualifier remaining is still in with a chance of reaching the final four.

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