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So Enter The Dragon, Ding Junhui. World number one for a few years and
everything is stronger than before. I play my games and that will be OK.
The way I performed at the moment is the perfect way I could have planned
it. I hope I have not peaked too soon.
There is no place like the Crucible. Hopefully I can go one better and
get to the final. I am playing great stuff. I need to be at the top of my
game to beat him, that's for sure. Hello, a good evening to you.
Welcome back to Crucible Theatre. Coming up highlights of the day's
semifinal of the 2017 Bet Fred World Championship. First up a repeat of
last year's final at the Crucible. Defending champion and world number
one Mark Selby, taking on China's Ding Junhui.
Well, Selby had a 9-7 lead after the morning session, they shared the
first four frames of the eve Ming, including a fabulous break of 128 to
Selby. We join it in frame 21. Ding to play, leading by 12 points.
So coming off the side cushion to nest in the reds. Doesn't want to
slide by them. Has to hit it hard enough to reach. That is well short.
REFEREE: Foul and a miss. Mark Selby four. No reason I don't think, being
that close, there was a case there for playing a safety and opening up
the reds, but, as I said, I noticed in the session this morning, Mark's
game plan, keep it tight. Only open the reds when you have a chance of
doing so, off a colour, but tough shot this for Ding Junhui.
Played it into the green, and fortunately the red he played hit
another red, so it's OK. But that could have gone horribly wrong. If
the red doesn't kiss the other red, he would have had something on. Just
watch the way this red ran into the green, and was going back up the
table until it kissed the second red.
So, a slight run of the ball there for Ding Junhui. Deserves some.
Looked like being a good safety until I flicked the brown. Now is
this the time? I know he has a pot on. All eyes toer the pot. Not
looked at a safety. Play for the pink into the middle, so it doesn't
have to do a lot with the cue ball. Long put success is a bit lower than
what is required, at this level. But he could do with this one.
Wonderful. Wonderful, and he is on the pink.
So he gets another opportunity. Now if he is not straight enough on the
pink to cannon into the main bunch of reds, he has an angle to knock a
red to the right corner. There is no-one better round the pink for me,
than this young man. But he was able to get into the cluster and played
it beautifully. I expect nothing less, and he didn't let me down,
wonderful shot. Looking to see if the pink will go
into the same corner as he is potting this red, but, if it
doesn't, he still has the green at this end of the table. Just looking
for another 33 points from this visit.
To get to snookers required. Decided to come up for the blue,
inch perfect. I think he would rather have been on
the red that is near the right hand cushion. But he has bounced off the
cushion a bit too far. Eight hours of intense concentration. There is
quite a few Chinese players in Sheffield play at the academy and
they would practise eight hours a day, but this is a little more
intense. That is why the standard is so high, the amount of practise that
the younger generation of players put in, it is quite extraordinary
and that is why the standard, where there is so many playing to such a
high standard. Just about perfect, he has the angle
on the blue, to hit the pink, he don't want to hit it full ball, just
three-quarter ball would be perfect, it would bring the three reds into
play. This could be the key to the frame, if this goes right.
Well, he has got, I am sure like you Dennis, he played that cannon. I
can't believe he played for this loose red. He is on it, in a
fashion. It is not going to be easy. Cue ball tight against the side
cushion. Whenever you have not got your hand on the table, it makes the
pot difficult. He needs an angle again, though.
And I don't think he has it. So he has a 35 point advantage, and the
three reds are intact there. And there is no path through to pot a
colour, and move them, the green looks to be dead straight, the pink
won't go. Checking the scoesh, but still -- score board, still a long
way short of securing the frame. He would love to get the snooker
here, there is is a good line there, yellow, brown, black, but I know
that you set a lot of store adds quite a few players do, of putting a
colour safe here, but he is trying to get off the green, and cannon the
black, to get the snooker. Needs to run, needs to run. Missed
an opportunity there. I'd have been knocking the green safe and
attempting the snooker as well. He needs some bit of insurance. And if
this next safety shot works out, the game could be quite open, with a
chance for Mark to put in a counter attack. Not like that. You don't
mind coming to the table with this sort of chance. That was an error
and a smile comes to the defending champion's face. I don't know why he
felt the necessity to hit it so thin. Any way, surely it is frame
over now, after this green. Just one more red needed.
And he's perfectly on the red and this red will put him 40 ahead with
just 35 remaining. But surely after this red he gets a
colour. Just been a bit surprising Dennis,
so many mistakes that Mark Selby has made in this frame on the safety
side. Very unlike him but he can't shake
off Ding Junhui, he keeps come back at him every time Mark opens up a
two frame advantage, Ding Junhui bounces back.
He had a three frame advantage at 10-7.
Is a lot of people would love this player to win the World Championship
this year. There's three other players with a different idea. He is
very popular with the public all over the world, this player.
He had won everything in the game but the World Championship.
Is he going to bother with the black? Why not, he played such a
good positional shot he might as well roll the black in as well.
Doesn't matter that the black doesn't drop. Ding Junhui will be
absolutely delighted, he takes the frame and now he's just one behind
the defending champion. Ding Junhui digging ever so deeply,
let's go into the next frame, back to Dennis and John, Mark Selby at
the table. Well, he seemed to hit that much
harder than he needed. There is a choice of reds for Ding
Junhui here, he doesn't like that as he walks back to his seat, looking
up at a few of his friends there. Didn't fancy that one little bit.
He had no option in all fairness but to play it.
If this goes in it's a frame-winner. Ooh it just struggled in off the jaw
but he feels he can pot the pinkful I'm not certain if the black goes.
But the pink certainly is pottable. But he, his heart must have been in
his mouth when it was I aming for that left hand jaw.
If it is the pink it will put him 50.s in front with just 67
remaining. Just got to screw back and the black will stay there and he
has a red below the black spot. Oh, he doesn't want that to cover the
red. Has it covered the red?
Red, colour, red required. Now the black covered the potting
angle on the red, would you believe it? He didn't see that coming. And
I'll be honest with you neither did I, but the run of the ball went
against him that time. Just looking at that again, Dennis, I don't think
he could pot that red. He couldn't, he almost hit them simultaneously
which would have been a foul shot if you hit the red and black at the
same time, it is called a split ball, and the referee would call a
foul. Yes, I don't think he could pot that
red. This first red is very difficult.
The pocket is out of your eye line. Tough shot this.
But he has played it well. APPLAUSE
He has held it nicely for the yellow. Any colours will do. He has
plenty of points to play with at the moment. What a frame and what a
steel this could be. -- steal this could be.
That is a big ask with where the reds are situated, but, he has done
it plenty of times in the past. What a time this would be to steal the
frame. He is a right handed player, so
they're not the wrong side of the table, but he's not nicely on the
pink to get anywhere near the reds, he would have to go all the way
round the angles here. He has play it badly. OK, normally
you would think he could pot the pink and come off the side cushion,
but the black is stopping that route, so as you say, he has to go
in and out the baulk, you are going to dig in, so he has to avoid the
kiss on the yellow and be careful of the right middle pocket. The middle
pocket and the yellow. Well, he has avoided it. Full ball kiss, would be
perfect. Fraction out. Good effort. Was it ever a good effort here, as
we show you the white arcing slightly, missed the yellow, and
just touched the red. Is there a path back behind the
brown here? He has to avoid the black.
Here he come, this is pretty good. If not the brown, he has the green
there. That was an excellent shot. This frame now taking on massive
proportions. In the 29th minute. What a big
frame. Ding Junhui has had a couple of opportunities in it, it really
hurt, if he was to lose it and go two frames behind again. Well, that
was strange. Ding Junhui, he seemed to be looking up at a monitor.
That's not bad, he hasn't left anything easy.
This red will cut back, looks like a natural angle to cannon into the
pink, if he did take it on for the left corner.
He has to be a bit careful he doesn't pass the pink and black and
go into the middle pocket. I think that's, that is a natural angle the
white would take if he plays the plain-ball, so, let's see the path
that the cue ball is going to take here.
Oh, that's a great shot. That's a terrific shot. If it bounces he's on
the brown and he can get up to the two reds.
Avoided the pinks just avoided the middle pocket.
Played it well, nice angle on the red.
Can't afford to pot this red, I don't think, and try and bring the
other red into play, because he's not certain to be on the colour, so
just play for the pink or blue. Now he looks to have landed
absolutely perfect on the pink to screw over to the right-hand side
cushion for in last red. Massive frame this, big chance. He would
love the -- that's where he would love the white ball.
That's not bad. He will screw back for the blue here. To give himself a
chance to get to the yellow. As we saw from the score, any colour
will do, he doesn't want to be straight on the blue, though.
If he is, it means he can't get close position on the yellow,
believe me, now, and he couldn't be much straighter, there is pressure
on every shot here. Trying to dig down but there is not a lot of room
when you are in the jaws of the pocket. If he is going to try and
screw this back, it may be making this blue so much more difficult. A
very timely cough or whatever it was just as he was going to deliver the
cue. That was pretty good under the
circumstances. Boy is he good under pressure, John.
I mean, this, what a steal this would be. Yes, this will really hurt
Ding Junhui, when he looks for all money he was going to get back to
all square. I always think that the key to this
type of clearance is this shot, now, from ground blue, if he lands
perfect on the blue, it should be a formality.
And what I'm looking for, John, here, is see what sort of reaction,
if he does win this frame, from Mark Selby, because he's been looking up
as a few of his friends in the balcony. I think we are going to get
a big reaction, this was a big frame.
Ding Junhui had his opportunities, this will hurt.
Pink and black required. This to go two frames in front, once
again. It's there. What a frame that was.
What a steal. Ding Junhui, he will be really hurting over that one, he
had a few good chance, Mark Selby fist pumps his way out to go to the
dressing room. 12-10 he leads. Mark Selby loved winning that frame, let
show you what happened in the next. Here he is back at the table.
Leading by a point. And what about that shot? Fabulous
pot. Well that's as good as pot as you could ever wish to see under the
circumstances, especially what happened in the previous frame. Ten
out of ten for that. Ding Junhui. Played for the reds, to the left
middle. Seem to be a few loose reds, maybe available to the right. No
need to play any pack breaking shots, but he needs to have nice
control of this cue ball. Decided to come back for the black.
Couldn't have played it better, beautiful shot. And this is where,
as I say, he is as good as anyone I've ever seen.
His little stun, screw, litten cannons.
-- little cannons. Yes, I mean he has made 451 sents in
his career, turned pro in 2003. -- centuries.
Mark Selby has made 471, so two of the games great break-builders here,
just let that one slip away a little bit. He would be all right if he can
pot the blue and avoid a kiss on the red on the right-hand side side of
the stable. I don't think he can drop it in, he has to avoid the kiss
if he is coming off top and side cushion. He thinks he can drop it
in. And nailed it too, amazingly enough.
This is a delicate little shot. Play the cannon on to the other red, he
might even pot it. The other one is over the corner
pocket. Lovely little shot there. He made it look very easy.
And what a positive shot that was under the circumstances, that is why
he is one of the game's great break-builder, a lot of players had
a couple of reds to play for, he went straight into the bunch, and
that could pay great dividends, he is having a smile there because he
wants the cue ball cleaned because he is just going to roll this red
in, the last thing he would want was a heavy contact. I know it is is a
bit of a tricky spot to have the cue ball cleaned. But Brendan Moore will
be up to the task. Yes, and Stephen Hendry and Ken
Doherty in the studio were asking could that last frame have knocked
the stuffing out of Ding? It certainly hasn't. As you say Dennis,
what a positive shot that was to go into them. And the fact he was
smiling there, when he asked for that cue ball to be cleaned, that is
another good sign. Once again, lovely control of the cue ball.
And just 311 points needed from this position. He would be very surprised
if he didn't do it. Didn't want to be that straight on
the black. It is just running out of position slightly.
You are always looking to have a slight angle on the colour, or on
the red, have to find the gap leer, to get back on the black.
Played it well, just the kiss off the second red. He will be mighty
relieved he is back in perfect position.
Just letting his cue ball run loose at the moment. There is a lot of
pressure on him. He can't afford to miss this opportunity. The last
frame he should have won, at full stretch here.
Well, once again he is probably a bit straighter on this black than he
needed to be. Just another couple of reds, and colours after this black
will see him over the line. Had enough angle there, just to
force it in. And he can reach this, he can stretch round. Bit of a
stretch but he'll be OK. Fabulous response, this, from Ding
Junhui. It really is.
After what happened in the previous frame. This to go 69 ahead with 67
remaining. Superb. Superb.
And now he can relax and concentrate and see if he can make histth
century in this year's World Championship, way ahead of I think
it's probably twice as many as the next player to him, which is Mark
Selby, think he has had six, Mark Allen had sixth before he got
knocked out by John Higgins. There is Mark Selby, nothing he
could do about that, about this situation, because the opening red,
from Ding Junhui, was, well, nobody could play safe against a pot like
this. Look at this. Absolutely perfect, run it round off
two cushion, got on the black and in an air of inevitability about him
winning the frame, which is remarkable after what happened the
frame before. It is just brilliant. It is a real
treat and a pleasure to be commentating on this semifinal. It
really is. We have had 67 centuries so far, I
don't think they will reach the record of 886, but you never know,
the way these boys are starting to play.
And there is another one. Absolutely fantastic.
And one more frame to be played. He has had three centuries in every
match he has played so far this year.
Absolutely perfection. Yes, he is a delight to watch when he gets in the
balls. Cue ball control of the highest order. Scoring machine. And
an exhibition type shot to get on the blue. Hasn't hit it hard enough
so it will be into the corner. Doesn't matter about that, but what
a response from Ding Junhui. The pressure was right on him and he
came straight back with that magnificent break and now he is just
one behind again at 12-11. STUDIO: Brilliant stuff from Ding
Junhui and we didn't want the match to end. Let's show you what happened
in the final frame of the session. Selby to play and there is no score.
COMMENTATOR: Where is the black ball going? No free ball. We'll Ding want
to play the top cushion or will he want Mark Selby to play it?
Personally, I would let the other man have a go at this.
He has got to make sure he avoids the cannon onto the red near the
cushion. That is an attacking safety shot, if ever I have seen one. That
is superb and that tells me, John, how positively this young player is
thinking. To be honest with you, when I suggested he let Mark Selby
play the shot, I thought he could only hit the red made the top
cushion. Have a look at this, surely there is not a 3-ball plans. Read on
to the pink, pink onto the red. It might just work. What a body blow
that would be because Ding played a superb safety shot, but that is a
distinct possibility. Yes, very positive safety shot, Ding Junhui,
trying to keep this frame open. But there is a possibility of this
three-ball plant. But it's not a certainty. He is looking to see if
he can avoid cannon in into the red if he takes the three-ball plant on.
There might be a gap... Well, he is back looking at it. If
anyone can pull off a three-ball plant, it is this fella. So, here we
go. Not only the plant, but keep an eye on the cue ball here as well.
Ding Junhui must be thinking, how on earth did I leave at three-ball
plant. It wasn't the best of kisses on the green for Mark. Did well to
spot it. But he's not out of the woods yet. This is a tough pot on
the green, should he take it on. He didn't play it that convincingly,
did he? He knew there was Reds adjacent to book corner pockets and
the one to the right corner is available. The only problem is, how
do you get on a colour? OK, the green is over the pocket, but how do
you get the cue ball in a position to pot the green. The pink is a
possible ball to get on. Nicely onto the blue. He can take the green, if
he hasn't got the correct side of the blue. But he has the red near
the left corner. Good cueing. He is OK here with the blue. As long as he
hasn't blocked the path through to this red. I think he should be all
right, Dennis. He couldn't do a lot else with the cue ball. Once again,
he won't want to play the green, keep it as reserve. So lay again for
the blue. Now, he may decide to play the green. He's not good on blue.
The blue is miscible. The green isn't.
Regardless of what happens in this last frame, what a final session we
are going to have tomorrow afternoon. He has taken the more
difficult pot. It's not too bad. Well judged. OK, he will have to go
up for the blue again. Not a good chance just yet. Reds are
nicely placed. Pink and black are not.
Having said that, the black is available into the left corner
pocket. There is a red next to the black
which is preventing it going into the right corner. He is on the
black. If he can get on the red, that is closest to the black, it is
a terrific chance. Just a little bit further back would
have made it a lot easier to hold for the black. He has got the other
red into the right corner, so he can leave that for the time being. What
a session of snooker, John. Well, if you don't enjoy this, then you don't
like snooker. This has been absolutely brilliant. The twists,
the turns, the run of the ball, the bad run of the ball for one player.
And that is what makes the World Championship, these longer matches
so special. It gives chance for the look to go to and fro and Mark
Selby, who came into this session with a two frame advantage, can see
that slipping away here. Ding Junhui, he has played absolutely
brilliant. He has taken everything that has been thrown at him. Some
people could have wilted with some of the bad run he has had tonight.
But he has hung on, lost the frame he should have won, not bite you are
entitled to win any frame, you have got to do it yourself. Lovely cannon
on the pink. I can't see him slipping up now, but having said
that, he is having the white cleaned because of the way he is playing the
next shot. He looks pretty fresh out there, this has been a gruelling
session, mentally, for both players. There you go, just over nine hours
and six minutes of hard concentration and some brilliant
play from both players. This to go 64 points in front with 75
remaining. Just another red and a colour required. And that now looks
a formality. Red and the black to go 72 points in front with 67
remaining. Just slightly hampered. No problem, he may take the pink.
The pink would put in 71 points in front with 67 remaining. Mark Selby
looks to have lost his two frame advantage. In it goes. Well, what a
session of snooker we have seen the night. It is incredible. It will go
down as one of the great sessions for me, in Crucible history. It has
been an absolute pleasure to commentate on what we have witnessed
this evening, it really has. I have loved every minute of it, even the
first frame, 18 minutes before a ball was potted. Even then, they
delivered a century break. Mark Selby did. But, every respect to
Ding Junhui, as I say, he has taken everything that has been thrown at
him, losing frames he should not have lost. Bad run of the ball. But
he stuck at it, he never dropped his head. And the last two frames have
been absolutely scintillating. Wouldn't it be fitting if he could
finish with another century? He has looked very comfortable. We
did see him having the odd smile and a laugh with the referee when he
asked him to cleaned the ball. He is in a very comfortable place at the
moment. He is where every snooker player wants to be, in the semifinal
of the World Championship and he is playing some scintillating snooker.
So, this red, the green wouldn't be enough. He needs a red and possibly
go back for the blue. Get in! Get in! This is the icing on the cake.
And his 13th century, John, this year. Fantastic! Absolutely
fantastic. You will not see many sessions of
snooker better than this. Well, John, we are on this match tomorrow
afternoon. Can't wait. Know, and pick a winner. Can't do that either.
We will just have to see how it unfolds. Mark Selby, great
competitor. He will appreciate what Ding has done this evening. With his
back against the wall, he went -- seven behind, but nothing was going
to detail him. He wanted to win this session and he has won it 50 plant.
The black, perfect position. To finish the night in style.
Fantastic. Well played, Mark Selby says to Ding Junhui. What a match.
Got a climax we have tomorrow afternoon. Ding Junhui takes a
standing ovation. He has won this session five frames to three.
Tomorrow, all square, 12-12. STUDIO: Standing ovation from The
Crucible cried. Ding Junhui has made 13 centuries. The record is Stephen
Hendrie, 16 centuries, can that be broken? Can Ding Junhui write his
name in Crucible history? We have time to bring you up today
with the other semifinal, John Higgins taking on Barry Hawkins, who
reached the final in 2013. 5-3 after the first session and then it went
9-6 to the Scott and Higgins kept the advantage. Barry Hawkins has it
all to do in the third session when they return later this morning. John
Higgins would be overnight lead in his first semifinal since he won his
fourth title in 2011. And Barry will pretty much have to do what Ding
Junhui has done in the other semifinal against Mark Selby and
stay in touch with John Higgins. But Barry doesn't have a good record
against Higgins and needs to rediscover his touch. Time now for
shot of the day. This is a cracker. Wow! Look at this for a shot.
Unbelievable. Wow! Stunning from Mark Selby. Has to be
one of the shots of the championship. We return at ten
o'clock on BBC Two from The Crucible as John Higgins takes on Barry
Hawkins. Thanks for watching. Goodbye for now.
As it comes down to this final pink. But is it, the World Snooker
champion in 1981, Steve Davis. Full disclosure - you're looking at
a room of double glazing salesmen.