Snooker World Championship: Ding Junhui first Asian in final

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Ding Junhui reaches first World final

China's Ding Junhui became the first Asian player to reach the World Championship final with a 17-11 victory over Scotland's Alan McManus.

The qualifier took three of the four frames played on Saturday and his seven century breaks was a record for the most centuries in a Crucible match.

He beat the record held by Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry.

In the other semi-final, world number one Mark Selby beat Hong Kong's Marco Fu 17-15.

That match featured the longest frame in Crucible history and delayed the Ding-McManus encounter by 37 minutes.

But the 29-year-old from China wasted little time extending his overnight lead from 14-10.

World number 17 Ding shared the first two frames with his fellow qualifier McManus - at 45 the oldest player to play in a Crucible semi-final since Ray Reardon in 1985.

He moved to within a frame of victory with the 10th ton scored in the match, which also further extended the record for most centuries in a World Championship game.

And he wrapped his seventh win since beginning his qualifying campaign in early April, taking a scrappy 28th frame.

Ding makes record number of centuries in a single Crucible match

Ding stays calm

The closing stages of the last-four meeting were always unlikely to provide the same drama and excitement of Friday's two sessions.

Ding was eager to stay calm, saying: "I wanted to make the final but I feel normal. The tournament hasn't finished yet.

"I want to keep focused. Last season and this season, I didn't play good but in March and April I started to play well.

"Now I am confident to play any matches and play anybody."

Mighty McManus

McManus took comfort from his remarkable run to the last four, the first time he managed that feat since 1993.

His performance at the Crucible will also see the world number 29 climb back into the top 20 in the world when the rankings are finalised at the end of the tournament.

Alan McManus

McManus said: "The best man won and you have to face that. The scoring Ding produced was up there with anything I have ever seen before.

"He was pretty hot. I expected that. I felt I could really give him a game because I felt good, but I didn't take enough chances.

"I felt last night I should have been 13-11 at the worst, not 14-10.

"Being four behind and then having a couple of setbacks, he was just too strong."

The best-of-35-frames final gets under way at 14:00 BST on Sunday.

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