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World Cup: Semi-final Preview

Both Chinese teams remain on course for a crowd-pleasing final showdown as the World Cup comes down to the final four in Wuxi.

Zhou Yuelong (TC)
Zhou Yuelong won the deciding frame to deny Luca Brecel’s Belgium. Photo credit: Tai Chengzhe

2011 winning pair Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo produced a strong display for China A to beat Wales 4-1.

It was a much harder affair for China B, with defending champions Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao emerging in a gruelling contest with Belgium in a decider.

Earlier on Saturday, Thailand outplayed Iran to record a 4-1 triumph – meaning three Asian teams will feature in a World Cup semi-final for the first time in the tournament’s history.

England complete the line-up after favourites Judd Trump and Barry Hawkins withstood a late revival by Northern Ireland to eventually advance in a 4-3 thriller.

The Chinese quartet has been kept apart in the draw with China A up against Thailand and England awaiting the reigning champions China B.

In this format it’s difficult to call who will prevail and there are arguments to be made for every remaining duo.

England, with players ranked third and sixth in the world, are the obvious front runners but face a Chinese outfit who have never lost a World Cup knockout match.

Teenagers Zhou and Yan stunned the snooker world when they emerged with the title two years ago and they have proved that it was no fluke with their progress again this time around.

With the vocal home support on their side, the youngsters will have every chance of giving the English pair a hard fought encounter in the last four on Sunday.

The same could be said for China A, albeit Ding and Liang will by contrast go into their semi-final fixture with Thailand as the marginal favourites.

That said, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Noppon Saengkham have been one of the star duos of the event so far with three centuries between them so far this week – the most of any team in the competition.

Both the semi-finals and the final will take place on Sunday as this year’s edition wraps up in China, with the home following hoping for a perfect conclusion and a mouthwatering clash between their two sides.

The exciting prospect would also have the additional spice of being a match-up between the country’s first golden generation of players and the next crop that could eventually yield even greater glory.

England and Thailand will have plenty to say about that.

Coverage of the final day will be live on Eurosport.

Click here to view the draw.



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.

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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the Tour Championship – won by Neil Robertson.

1. Judd Trump
2. Ronnie O’Sullivan
3. Neil Robertson
4. Mark Selby
5. John Higgins
6. Kyren Wilson
7. Shaun Murphy
8. Stephen Maguire
9. Ding Junhui
10. Yan Bingtao
11. Barry Hawkins
12. Mark Williams
13. Mark Allen
14. Jack Lisowski
15. David Gilbert
16. Anthony McGill

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