'Crazy' feeling for finalist Ding

Ding Junhui is trying to come to terms with the "crazy" feeling of reaching his second successive ranking event final.

The Chinese star saw off Stephen Maguire 9-5 in the last four of the Pukka Pies UK Championship at Telford last night.

That secured the 22-year-old his second final appearance in four years - just two months after he also went the distance at the Grand Prix, where he was beaten by Australian Neil Robertson in the final.

He will face either world number one Ronnie O'Sullivan or two-time champion John Higgins, who face off in today's second semi-final.

Ding told www.worldsnooker.com: "It's crazy, I've never done this before - been in two finals in a row - but the next match will be very hard. They (O'Sullivan and Higgins) are both good."

The stage looked set for a tense battle last night when Maguire won the first two frames of the evening session to level the scores at 5-5.

But Ding took the next four in succession - though he admitted that a piece of bad luck for his opponent in frame 11 proved to be a huge turning point in the match.

"At 5-5 there was a lot of pressure on me but I was lucky in the next frame," he said. "He potted the red and the white went in off and left me an easy chance.

"I just had to keep my concentration and make a big break."

That he did, with a total clearance of 134, and from then on it was one-way traffic, Ding completing victory with a break of 69.

Maguire admitted he was not at his best throughout the tournament, and expects his conqueror to face a far tougher test tomorrow.

The Scot said: "All week it's not been one visit.

"No-one's punished me, it's different when you come up against someone like Ding who is doing it one visit.

"He looks very good amongst the balls, but I gave him more chances then he'll probably get in the final.

"I need to get back on the practise table and get back to where I was a couple of years ago."

More in this Section

I won’t stay at Spurs for the sake of it, says ambitious KaneI won’t stay at Spurs for the sake of it, says ambitious Kane

Russell mends broken fences with TownsendRussell mends broken fences with Townsend

Tokyo Games likely to start in July 2021Tokyo Games likely to start in July 2021

Taylor v Serrano postponedTaylor v Serrano postponed


Lifestyle

Ellie O’Byrne rounds up some of the virtual gigs, films and other eventsArts Noticeboard: Online entertainment options

It’s 25 years since Toy Story first stunned us with its brilliance. Esther McCarthy looks back onJohn Lasseter’s masterpiece and why it’s regarded as a milestone of modern cinemaInfinity and beyond: How Toy Story altered movie history

All the wines recommended this week are available for delivery.Wine with Leslie Williams: Looking for a wine delivery service? Here are a few ...

If I could be reborn for a day I’d be a cat. I love their serenity and independence and how they always manage to find that one shaft of sunlight.This Much I Know: Broadcaster, Mary Kennedy

More From The Irish Examiner