London (AFP) – Ding Junhui recovered from a slow start to seize control of his snooker World Championship first-round clash against fellow Chinese star Xiao Guodong on Monday.
Ding is bidding for his first title at the Crucible in Sheffield, but his dreams of lifting the trophy were under threat after he lost the first two frames.
The world number three stemmed the tide with a break of 68 to take the third frame and that proved a key moment.
Ding reeled off the next three frames before Xiao’s 57 break allowed him to narrow his compatriot’s lead to 4-3.
That was the signal for Ding to step on the gas again as he won the final two frames of the opening session, with a 72 break in the last of the day giving him a 6-3 advantage.
Ding will look to seal the win in the best of 19 frames encounter when plays resumes in Tuesday’s second and final session.
The 31-year-old was runner-up at the World Championship in 2016 and reached the semi-finals on two other occasions including last year.
Elsewhere in first-round action, world number 51 Jamie Jones stunned former champion Shaun Murphy with a 10-9 victory.
Welshman Jones dumped the 2005 winner out after holding his nerve to seal the deciding frame 72-1.
Mark Allen saw off Crucible debutant Liam Highfield 10-5 to move into the second round.
The 32-year-old will now meet Joe Perry in the second round, after the world number 22 pulled off a shock victory over defending champion Mark Selby.