Ding Junhui fought back from 3-1 down to overcome Stuart Bingham 6-4 and reach the semi-finals of the Champion of Champions in Coventry.
Ding struggled badly at times in the early exchanges, and indeed sporadically during his first round victory over Ali Carter earlier on Tuesday, but gradually grew in confidence to seal his place in the last four.
Helping his cause was Bingham’s energy, or lack thereof, with the world no.2 clearly beginning to feel the effects of an arduous spell in the calendar.
Bingham had reached the semi-finals or better in each of the last five tournaments he had participated in, including the final of the China Championship which he narrowly lost to John Higgins in only a few days ago on the other side of the world.
A combination of jet lag and being forced to play two matches seemed to take a toll on the 2015 world champion.
Bingham had struck the ball confidently in a classy 4-2 defeat of Neil Robertson in the last 16 and appeared on course for another semi-final berth when he established a nice two frame cushion over Ding before the mid-session interval.
However, while the latter was previously missing some unbelievably easy pots by his standard, Ding began to iron these out from his play and ultimately capitalised on his opponent’s empty tank.
The 29 year-old admitted to suffering from jet lag himself having just travelled back to England from his homeland a couple of days ago, and that could have explained some of his errant play as his concentration sometimes waned, but he increasingly looked to be in more control of the table as the encounter progressed to its climax.
After keeping Bingham in his seat to move in front for the first time at 4-3, Ding wasted an opportunity to extend his lead but subsequently pulled away from 4-4 with a superb 125 century break and by dominating the tenth and final frame to join Ronnie O’Sullivan in Friday’s last four.
Ding, already the Shanghai Masters and 6 Red world champion this year, will be hoping to add a maiden Champion of Champions title to his glittering CV at the Ricoh Arena.
The players involved on Wednesday will certainly have a say in that, particularly the top ranked Mark Selby who enters the fray on the third day of action.
The world champion faces an intriguing test with English Open winner Liang Wenbo – although perhaps the Chinese will have one eye on next week’s second leg of the Home Nations series in Belfast.
The other afternoon tie tomorrow sees Mark Allen, runner-up to Robertson in 2015, take on Joe Perry.
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