World Snooker Championship: Ding Junhui equals centuries record
|2016 World Snooker Championship|
|Venue: The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 16 April - 2 May|
|Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Red Button, BBC Sport app, Connected TVs & online.|
Ding Junhui equalled the record for centuries scored by one player in a World Championship match as his sixth ton helped build a 14-10 lead over Alan McManus in an enthralling semi-final.
China's Ding led his fellow qualifier 6-2 overnight and he hit a fifth century on his way to a 9-3 advantage.
McManus scored two tons of his own in winning five frames to get back to 9-8.
Ding recovered to end the evening session back in control but messed up a 147 chance after potting the 15th red.
The world number 17 missed a tricky black on 113, but had been struggling for position for several shots when his potting finally failed him.
In the afternoon's semi-final, Hong Kong's Marco Fu came from 5-3 down to draw level with Mark Selby at 8-8.
But the day's main drama came during a record-breaking, high-quality encounter between Ding and Scotland's McManus.
Tumbling records and a missed max
World number 17 Ding's six tons drew him level with both Ronnie O'Sullivan (against Barry Hawkins in the 2013 final) and Mark Selby (against Stephen Hendry in the second round in 2011).
It also gave him the record for most three-figure breaks in a semi-final.
McManus weighed in with three tons during an incredible demonstration of break-building by the pair, which set a new record of nine tons in a World Championship match.
Veteran McManus digs in
The match seemed likely to finish a session early, such was Ding's dominance and destructive form on Thursday and in the early part of Friday's morning session.
As well as his five tons, the 29-year-old, who is hoping to become the first Asian player to reach the final, also scored two breaks in the 90s and two fifties on his way to a 9-3 lead.
But McManus, at 45 the oldest player to reach the last four at the Crucible since Ray Reardon in 1985, had done little wrong and he raised his game to rekindle memories of the last time he made the final four in 1993.
A sensational 136 in frame 14, which was rounded off with an exhibition-style final black off four cushions, made it 9-5.
He compiled another century and then closed to 8-9 and 10-12, but Ding stayed composed, getting over his fluffed 147 and regaining the four-frame lead he started the day with.
Fu's tip-top response
Selby and Fu's match lacked the style and fluency of the other semi-final but provided plenty of tension, as well as a bizarre moment when Fu's tip came off as he was chalking his cue.
At that stage the world number 14, who was last a semi-finalist in 2006, had tied the score at 7-7 in the best-of-33 match, scoring two centuries in a three-frame burst.
The 38 year old looked crestfallen when his tip flew off while on 33 in frame 15 but, after it was re-glued during a 10-minute delay, he returned to complete a break of 81 and take an 8-7 lead.
The 2014 champion Selby, who struggled to find his best form throughout, ensured he ended the session all square after an error-strewn final frame.
Fu and Selby resume at 10:00 BST on Saturday and play to a conclusion in the evening, while Ding and McManus play their final session in the afternoon from 14:30 BST.
Wilson stays on target for top-break prize
One player who was mightily relieved was world number 19 Kyren Wilson, who still has the highest break of the tournament thanks to his 143 against Mark Selby in the quarter-finals.
Wilson is getting married in the summer and was quick to express his relief that he still in prime position to claim the £10k prize for the top break.
Sign up to My Sport to follow snooker news and reports on the BBC app.