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Kyren Wilson downs Ding Junhui in Crucible classic as Trump leads Vafaei

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Wilson was relieved to see off Ding (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Kyren Wilson booked his place in the World Championship second round after beating Ding Junhui 10-8 in a high-quality encounter on Wednesday.

It was an epic clash between two former Crucible finalists, who produced a combined total of five centuries and a further 12 breaks over 50.

Wilson – runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2020 – has been the form player at the Crucible in recent times, reaching at least the semi-finals in three of the last four years.

But the Warrior fell 3-0 behind to 2016 finalist Ding, who opened his 16th successive appearance at snooker’s spiritual home with breaks of 110, 64, 51 and 55.

Wilson hit back with runs of 101 and 95 to level, but his opponent won two of the next three frames to carry a slender 5-4 advantage into the evening session.

A lengthy 10th frame went the way of the world number five on the black, but the next six were shared as both players traded high-scoring blows.

Indeed, breaks of 126, 99 and 85 from Wilson were cancelled out by Ding’s contributions of 122, 117 and 96.

The Dragon had a great chance to steal frame 17 from 65-0 down, but missed the pink on 54 and following a tactical exchange, went in-off to hand his opponent the advantage.

Wilson needed no second opportunity, with a run of 62 in the next setting up a second-round showdown with 2015 champion Stuart Bingham.

“Sometimes, these games are good stepping stones for what you’d like to be a long tournament,” he said.

“I decided to think that if I came through this game, I’m going to have had to play well.

“It’s going to be set me in good stead for the rest of the tournament, and I’ve come out on top.

“I felt it was fast, attacking, flowing, there were a couple of close finishes; it had a bit of everything.”

On Ding, Wilson added: “He’s done an awful lot for this game, so we all owe him our gratitude for that.

“He’s one tournament away from being an all-time great, so we all have to remember that.”

Elsewhere, Judd Trump established a 6-3 overnight lead against debutant Hossein Vafaei.

The 2019 champion hit a top break of 110 on the way to a 3-0 lead, but the Shootout winner responded to level at 3-3.

Nevertheless, the Ace controlled the back end of their opening session with runs of 73 and 56 restoring his three-frame advantage.

Meanwhile, Luca Brecel has work to do after falling 6-3 behind against Noppon Saengkham.

The Scottish Open champion is yet to win a match at the Crucible, and struggled as his Thai opponent surged into a 6-1 lead with two centuries along the way.

But Brecel did win the final two frames of the session to keep the contest alive.


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