China's highest-ranked player, Ding Junhui edged out Mark King 10-9 in the first round at the Snooker World Championship on Saturday to book a last 16 berth against five-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan or Thai player Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
Ding, leading King 5-4 after Friday's first session, was tied by his resilient opponent four times in the second session but never fell behind. The 33-year-old world number 11 finally won the match 10-9.
Ding, leading King 5-4 after Friday's first session, was tied by his resilient opponent four times in the second session but never fell behind
Ding went back to China when all sporting events were suspended in England in the middle of March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He pulled out of the Snooker Tour Championships in June to avoid extensive travel as a safety precaution but decided to take part in the biggest annual snooker tournament in Sheffield.
"After 14 days of quarantine, I only had eight or nine days to get ready for the World Championship," Ding told the World Snooker Tour website. "I'm not sure I can play well with that little practice, I will just try. I am looking forward to the second round and I am looking to improve my game. Whoever I play, I want to win."
In other first-round matches on Saturday, Mark Williams defeated Alan McManus 10-5. Stuart Bingham beat Ashley Carty 10-7.
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The reigning world champion and world number one Judd Trump came from 5-2 down to knock out qualifier Tom Ford 10-8 on Friday. His second rival will be China's hopeful Yan Bingtao or Elliot Slessor.
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