Liang keeps pace with Ding

The all-Chinese encounter in the first round of the Betfred.com World Snooker Championship remained anyone’s game as Liang Wenbo hit back to trail Ding Junhui only 7-6 at the mid-session interval.

Leading 5-4 overnight, Ding had looked set to finish the match after taking the first two frames of the day to go 7-4 ahead.

But Liang looked determined to ensure last year’s quarter-final appearance at the Crucible in his debut campaign was no flash in the pan, and rallied to take the next two and put himself right back in contention.

Ding started the opening frame well, making 24 without reply, but struggled to break up the pack and let his opponent return to the table.

Liang could not capitalise, though, and, after he had sent a blue into the jaws, Ding was able to wrap up the frame with a further break of 58 to make it 6-4.

Liang came back well in the next frame with a 52 break but could not finish the job off after misjudging the angle off a blue, allowed Ding to return and clear to the pink, putting him three frames ahead, as he had been at one stage yesterday.

But Liang refused to let Ding pull away and came back to win the next two frames with a clearance of 77 and a break of 68 meaning that, at the mid-session interval, things were as they had been at the start of play, Ding only one frame ahead with the score at 7-6.

Progress was slower on the other table, where 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon was getting his match under way with Nigel Bond.

A cagey opening saw only a solitary point scored between the two players in the first 15 minutes but Bond eventually took the initiative and went into the interval 3-1 up.

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