Yan Bingtao stuns John Higgins to reach UK Championship Semi-Finals as Ding, Allen and Maguire also progress

Jamie Shaw in UK Championship

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Liang and Ding embrace at The Crucible in 2017 (credit:Rui Vieira/PA Images)

UK Championship Snooker 2019 Quarter-Finals preview and order of play: Final eight face off in York

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In-form Ding in action (credit:Nigel French/PA Images)

Ding Junhui v Yan Bingtao: UK Championship 2019 Semi-Final preview – China’s top two collide

Higgins shakes hands with Yan (credit:Nigel French/PA Images)

Higgins shakes hands with Yan (credit:Nigel French/PA Images)

Yan Bingtao extended his dream run at the 2019 UK Championship with a superb 6-3 victory over John Higgins to seal a Semi-Final spot, as Ding Junhui, Mark Allen and Stephen Maguire also advanced in York.

Yan, 19, affirmed his reputation as one of China’s brightest young talents by pulling off a memorable scalp of the three-time UK Champion in a high quality contest on Friday.

Yan, a former World Cup winner who won his first ranking title in Riga earlier this year, followed up his eye-catching wins over Jack Lisowski and Neil Robertson in the previous rounds with another top-16 scalp at The York Barbican.

Incredibly, the teenager did so without making a break of over 50, opening up leads of 4-1 and 5-2 before Higgins pegged back with a vintage break of 123.

Yan, however, made no mistake in sealing the deal in the following frame to set up a show-down with compatriot Ding Junhui in Saturday’s Semi-Finals.

Ding had booked his place in the Last Four for the first time since winning the title a decade ago by overcoming former World Cup team-mate Liang Wenbo 6-2.

Ding, the 2005 and 2009 UK Champion who dethroned reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Last 16, continued his red hot form in York by firing in high breaks of 79, 101 and 76 in a dominant display against the 2015 runner-up.

“I am very pleased with the way I played this week – I am confident,” said Ding.

“I am not thinking too much. I don’t get upset and think negative, I just play single shots. I can play anybody.”

The evening session saw two-time UK finalist Mark Allen end the resurgent run of 1995 world finalist Nigel Bond in a deciding frame shoot-out.

Bond, 54, had knocked out Judd Trump and Gary Wilson en route to the Last Eight but saw his hopes fall agonisingly short following a tense battle.

Allen took the first frame with a 70 break before Bond reeled off three in a row with a top break of 74.

Former Masters champion Allen responded with three straight frames of his own, including breaks of 89 and 98, to move 4-3 in front, before Bond levelled again thanks to a break of 87.

A 69 break from Allen was cancelled out by a dominant tenth frame by Bond as he set up a grand-stand finish, but it was the Antrim left-hander who added a second break of 69 to come through his third deciding frame of the tournament.

Stephen Maguire produced another clinical display of break-building as he denied fellow former UK Champion Matthew Stevens 6-4.

Maguire, the 2004 champion, took his tally of centuries to six for the tournament with magnificent breaks of 135 and 123, added to further frame-winning efforts of 56, 51, 83 and 66.

The Scot is now through to his seventh UK Championship Semi-Final since famously lifting the trophy 15 years ago.

Betway UK Championship 2019 Results

Friday December 6

Quarter-Finals

Afternoon Session
Ding Junhui 6-2 Liang Wenbo
John Higgins 3-6 Yan Bingtao

Evening Session
Stephen Maguire 6-4 Matthew Stevens
Mark Allen 6-5 Nigel Bond