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Dominant duo Ding Junhui and Stephen Maguire set up UK Championship final clash

Jamie Shaw in UK Championship

Maguire marches on in York (credit:Nigel French/PA Images)

Maguire marches on in York (credit:Nigel French/PA Images)

Ding Junhui and Stephen Maguire won through to their first UK Championship final for over a decade apiece following emphatic wins over Yan Bingtao and Mark Allen respectively in York on Saturday.

The two former champions recaptured their blistering best form at the York Barbican to move within touching distance of regaining the prestigious Triple Crown title.

Two-time champion Ding, whose last triumph came ten years ago, swept aside Chinese compatriot Yan Bingtao 6-2 in the opening Semi-Final to reach his first ranking final since the 2018 World Grand Prix.

Ding, who knocked out defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Last 16, continued his resurgent form to end the 19-year-old’s landmark run.

“It was a tough game,” Ding told BBC Sport. “He beat John Higgins so I knew he must be confident.

“I was concerned when I made a big mistake at 4-1 up and I tried to forget it and look for a chance.

“I’m playing my snooker and it’s good to have it back, and I’m getting better.”

Ding raced into a 3-0 lead with breaks of 68, 85 and 60 before Yan got off the mark prior to the interval, and after Ding had restored a three-frame cushion, the teenager fired in a break of 95 to trail 4-2.

Ding, however, responded with consecutive breaks of 53 and 60 to seal a comfortable victory and a place in a 20th career ranking final.

Maguire, meanwhile, produced perhaps one of the stand-out performances of his career to whitewash last year’s runner-up Mark Allen and progress to a first UK Championship final for 12 years.

The Scot finished with a pot success rate of 97 per cent as he kept the former Masters champion off the table for much of the contest, and admitted: “I can’t remember playing like that to be honest, I felt good out there.

“I don’t think anyone saw 6-0 coming.

“The third frame to get to 3-0 was the killer and that made all the difference.

“I’ve just been relaxed this week, I’ve been bored to tears so I’ve just been practicing and it’s paid off!”

Maguire hit the ground running with a break of 95 to clinch the opening frame before following in with a thunderous 129 clearance to double his lead.

Allen looked to have done enough to halve the deficit after making a 67 break in frame three, but only for Maguire to step in with a clinical 72 clearance to stretch his foothold.

He then dominated the fourth frame by 72 points to nil and resumed after the interval with a break of 50 to move 5-0 ahead.

The 2004 champion than sealed the deal in style with a break of 100 – his eighth century of the tournament – to remain on course to end his 15-year wait for UK Championship glory.

Betway UK Championship 2019 Results

Saturday December 7

Semi-Finals

Ding Junhui 6-2 Yan Bingtao
Stephen Maguire 6-0 Mark Allen