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UK Championship: Yan Bingtao beats John Higgins to face Ding Junhui in semis

UK Championship: Yan Bingtao beats John Higgins to face Ding Junhui in semis

Teenager Yan Bingtao sealed a stunning 6-3 win over three-time UK Championship winner John Higgins to set up an all-Chinese semi-final with Ding Junhui.

World number 20 Yan followed up his 6-1 demolition of world number four Neil Robertson with another mature display.

He made numerous breaks of 30 plus to put pressure on the misfiring Higgins and reach his first semi-final in one of snooker's Triple Crown events.

Two-time champion Ding raced through a 6-2 win against Liang Wenbo.

World number five Higgins, 44, was making his 14th last-eight appearance at the UK Championship but all his previous three wins came before the event moved to the York Barbican.

He struggled from the start against a confident opponent, who did not score heavily but was astute in his shot selection and combined that with consistently wily safety.

Yan, 19, failed to make a break in excess of 50 in the nine frames and, although Higgins did compile breaks of 78 and 123, he never looked settled.

Higgins said: "I was just not good enough. I played pretty bad and I struggled with the conditions. The table was challenging.

"Things were landing awkwardly but every credit to Yan. He only took chances on when he was favourite to get them and he played some great safety."

Yan became the first teenage player to win a ranking title in 13 years when he was victorious at the Riga Masters and his shock win in York will ensure a huge television audience in China for Saturday afternoon's semi-final with national sporting hero Ding.

World number 16 Ding did not quite replicate the magnificent form that saw him defeat reigning champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in round four.

But he was always in control against his fellow Chinese player and said the key to his impressive form was trying to play without pressure.

"I am very pleased with the way I played this week. I am confident," he said.

"I am not thinking too much. I don't get upset and think negative, I just play single shots. I can play anybody."

The 2005 and 2009 champion is into his first UK Championship semi-final since last lifting the title, and eyeing a first ranking event win since his success at the World Open in September 2017.

The 32-year-old has been growing in confidence throughout the tournament, having shone against both Ali Carter and O'Sullivan.

And he looked calm and composed throughout against world number 40 Liang, who reached the final in 2015.

An emotional Liang, also 32, was playing less than a week after the death of his mother and showed glimpses of his talent.

But Ding extended a solid first session lead of 3-1 with a stunning break of 101 and closed out a comfortable win with a stylish 76 to add to his earlier ton and breaks of 49, 79, and 49.

Yan's victory over Higgins means Mark Allen is the only top-12 player in the world left in this year's tournament.

The evening play sees Northern Ireland's Allen take on Judd Trump's conqueror, the 54-year-old Englishman, Nigel Bond.

Completing the quarter-final line-up is the 2003 winner Matthew Stevens, who faces the 2004 winner Stephen Maguire.

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