Teen star Ding confident ahead of White clash

Chinese teenager Ding Jun Hui is feeling confident ahead of the biggest match of his fledgling snooker career in Brighton as he faces Jimmy White tonight.

Chinese teenager Ding Jun Hui is feeling confident ahead of the biggest match of his fledgling snooker career in Brighton as he faces Jimmy White tonight.

The 17-year-old from Shanghai needed only 63 minutes to blow away Tony Drago in the first round of the British Open yesterday.

And Ding now tackles crowd favourite Jimmy White in what promises to be a mouth-watering second encounter.

White, 42, won the British Open title in 1987 – a few weeks before Ding was born.

After winning the Players Championship last season, the "Whirlwind" is a major contender again, currently occupying fourth place in the provisional rankings.

But Ding seems unaffected by the prospect of facing snooker’s most popular player, and by the constant hype surrounding his own future.

Many in the game, including practice partner Peter Ebdon, are convinced Ding will become the first Chinese player to win the world championship.

Ding himself insists he is not feeling the weight of expectation that others have placed upon him.

He said: “There’s no pressure on me because I want to be world champion myself. I want to be the best. I just try my hardest every time I play. I don’t know whether I can win the tournament, it just depends on how I’m feeling.”

Ding struggled on his debut season, qualifying for only one final venue, but he has already made it through to the concluding phase of two of the current campaign’s first three tournaments.

He outpointed Drago 463-73, making highest breaks of 84 and 73, to reach the last 32 of a ranking event for the second time.

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