China's Ding Junhui competes during day seven of the UK Snooker Championship at the York Barbican, York, England, Dec 3, 2019. (NIGEL FRENCH / PA VIA AP)
LONDON — China's top player Ding Junhui and rising star Yan Bingtao both won at snooker UK Championships on Friday, setting up a semifinal encounter in the prestigious event.
Ding defeated compatriot Liang Wenbo 6-2 before the 19-year-old Yan knocking out veteran John Higgins 6-3.
Ding, 32, failed to win any ranking event title for more than two years, but has shown a recovery of form in York. He ousted defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan 6-4 to grab a quarterfinal berth on Thursday and it's his first ranking event semifinal for 22 months.
Yan won his first ranking title at the Riga Masters earlier this season. Although his top break on Friday was just 43, he managed to outplay a below par Higgins.
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