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Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Saturday, 3 April 2010 16:27 UK

Ding Junhui to play Mark Williams in China Open final

Ding Junhui in action
Ding won the tournament back in 2005

Local favourite Ding Junhui will play world number 15 Mark Williams in the final of the China Open in Beijing.

Ding, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Thursday, sealed his place with a commanding 6-2 win over Northern Ireland's Mark Allen.

The world number 13 wrapped up the win with a superb 125 break, his second century effort of the match.

Wales' Williams came through a sterner test, eventually beating England's Ali Carter 6-4.

Two-time China Open champion Williams clinched the final two frames to see off Carter, who had led 3-1 after four frames.

However, Williams took control of the match when he claimed three successive frames, courtesy of a combination of well-constructed breaks and mistakes from his opponent, to take a 4-3 lead.

Ding will be favourite to win, he's won a tournament already this season and he's playing in front of his home crowd

Mark Williams

Carter responded by taking the next frame at 4-4, but he failed to capitalise on a mistake on the black from Williams in the ninth before the two-time world champion ended the contest with a break of 68.

"That's probably as good or even better than my first three wins," said the 35-year-old Williams.

"For the first four or five frames I wasn't playing that well, but I just said to myself 'hang in there and hope it turns around'. Towards the end I played some good stuff."

Ding dominated his semi-final from the first frame, racing into a 3-0 lead, including a superb 137 break in the third frame, before Allen managed to register his first frame of the match to reduce the deficit.

The 2005 champion won the next two frames for a 5-1 lead and should have closed out the match in the seventh, but missed the last red to a baulk corner, allowing Allen to clear the table.

But Ding finished off the match in the next frame, sealing his victory with yet another century break.

"Once I was 3-0 up I felt he had lost confidence," said Ding, whose victory in the 2005 final was watched by a TV audience of 110m people according to Chinese state media.

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"This season I have learned to just concentrate on the balls, and that has helped keep my mind clear. I will rest tonight and then try my best tomorrow (Sunday)."

Allen, who beat seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry in the quarter-finals, admitted he was comprehensively outplayed by his opponent.

"I didn't perform, I struggled with my game," said the 24-year-old.

"Missing the black in the second frame was careless, I lifted my head on the shot. I could have stamped my authority on the match, but instead of being 1-1, 10 minutes later I was 3-0 down."

However, Williams believes he will be underdog for the £55,000 prize money in front of a partisan crowd for Sunday's final at the Beijing Students University Stadium.

"Ding will be favourite to win, he's won a tournament already this season and he's playing in front of his home crowd," added Williams.

"I don't feel pressure whether it's playing Stephen Hendry in Scotland or Ding in China.

"It's just nice to be back in a final and getting a few ranking points."



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see also
Ding defeats Ebdon in China Open
02 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Williams humbles Higgins in China
01 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Allen makes China quarter-finals
01 Apr 10 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan ousted in China shock
31 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Higgins unhappy after scrappy win
30 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Higginson through to face Hendry
29 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Davis & Taylor stage 1985 rematch
29 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Hearn warns players of mediocrity
12 Mar 10 |  Snooker


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