China’s Ding advances in Players Championship

Manchester, March 23 (IANS) Chinese snooker player Ding Junhui has beaten England’s David Gilbert 4-1 in the opening round of the Players Championship snooker here.

Ding has shown improved form in recent weeks, reaching the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open, the semis of the World Grand Prix and now into the last 16 this week to face Luca Brecel or Michael White, reports Xinhua.

Those results have seen Ding climb from 19th to 17th and if he can get into the top-16 by the end of next week’s China Open, then he’ll avoid having to qualify for the World Championship.

“I’m starting to trust and believe in myself. I’m not sure about the rankings; I’ll just keep going and do my best in the last three tournaments,” he said on Tuesday.

World Grand Prix champion Shaun Murphy defeated Ding’s compatriot Liang Wenbo 4-1, setting up a match with Mark Williams or Dominic Dale. Marco Fu of Hong Kong edged out Alan McManus 4-3 in a dramatic finish to earn a second round match with Tom Ford or Ricky Walden.

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