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Page last updated at 22:32 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Ding and Maguire reach UK Championship semi-finals

Pukka Pies UK Snooker Championship
Venue: Telford International Centre Dates: Sat 5 Dec to Sun 13 Dec Coverage: Live on BBC Two, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website.

Video - Ding clinches last-frame decider

Ding Junhui and Stephen Maguire have booked their places in the semi-finals of the UK Championship in Telford.

While Maguire enjoyed a relatively straightforward 9-5 win over Peter Lines, Ding's match with Ali Carter went right to the wire at 9-8.

Ding had to overcome the loss of the first three frames of his match, but clawed his way back to edge victory.

Ronnie O'Sullivan plays Mark Selby and Liang Wenbo faces John Higgins in the remaining quarter-finals on Thursday.

World number two Maguire looked comfortable against qualifier Lines in the opening session and took a commanding 6-2 lead.

Nobody's really fired on full cylinders against me yet

Stephen Maguire

Maguire, who will play Ding in his next match, won the first frame in the evening session to be within touching distance of victory but Lines fought back to win the next three frames.

A break of 108 then put Maguire one frame away from winning and he wrapped up the win at the first time of asking - but even so the 28-year-old does not think he has hit top form.

"I thought I was getting better this week but I struggled in that final session, I was a little bit careless," he said.

"I'm in the semi-finals of the UK, so there's something there. But nobody's really fired on full cylinders yet against me.

"If somebody does that, I'll need to see whether I've got the game to contend with them. If someone comes in against me and scores really heavily, I'm going to need to improve."

It was a much closer affair in Wednesday's other quarter-final.

Carter sprinted into a three-frame lead but was pegged back as Ding found his form and the first session ended with the pair all square at 4-4.

The pair won a frame each straight after the interval, with Ding attempting a maximum break but having to settle for a 96.

Carter won the next two to lead 7-5 - but Ding emulated the feat to make the scores level once more.

I missed easy balls during the match but I kept trying

Ding Junhui

Carter won the next with a 74 break to move to within a frame of winning, but Ding produced his best when he needed it most, making a 95 break to take the game into a decider.

And Ding took control to seal his passage into the last four by claiming the last frame 76-0.

"It was a good performance, especially the last two frames," said Sheffield-based Ding. "I missed easy balls during the match but I kept trying, and in the end my concentration was good."

Ding defeated Maguire at the recent Grand Prix but does not believe that will give him a psychological advantage ahead of their semi-final meeting.

"He beat me about 100 times before that," added the 22-year-old.

"I always enjoy playing him because he makes me try very hard. It will be my toughest match so far."

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see also
UK Championship 2009 - full results
05 Dec 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan delight at Hearn role
08 Dec 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan cruises past Stevens
07 Dec 09 |  Snooker
'Tortured' Hendry defeats Davis
06 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Murphy dreaming of more UK glory
04 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Hearn confirmed as snooker chief
17 Dec 09 |  Snooker
UK Championship gets Pukka deal
12 Nov 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker

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