Snooker - Ding fends off McManus recovery to reach last 16

Alan McManus won the first three frames of the morning but it was not enough to unsettle Ding Junhui as the Chinese player completed a 10-5 win in the World Championship first round.

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Alan McManus

"Alan played very well this morning and it was a tough match," said Ding. "My concentration was not all there and when I got chances I was missing some of them.

"I just want to forget about this match and concentrate on the second round. I need to get good practice in and get a good rest. I do not really feel pressure when I play at the Crucible. All I try and do is learn from my experience. I came to win the title so I will be doing all I can."

Trailing 7-2 overnight, McManus kept alive his hopes of an unlikely recovery when he picked up the first three frames of the second session boosted by a break of 64 in the 11th frame before an outrageous fluke in holing a red escaping from a snooker provided him with the platform to snag the 12th frame.

Ding was obviously struggling to find his peak powers, but awoke from his slumber in time to pocket the 13th frame with a knock of 75 earning him an 8-5 advantage heading for the mid-session interval.

McManus had chances to win the 14th frame, but a telling snooker by Ding left his opponent tight behind the black attempting to hit green with only five balls left on the table.

The Glaswegian failed six times to hit the green from a horrid position as the severity of the miss rule came into focus leaving McManus 25 points adrift with 25 left on the table. Having almost won the frame from his chair, Ding rolled in green, brown, blue and pink for a 9-5 lead.

Ding applied the finishing touches to his win when he pinched a nervy 15th frame with McManus again failing to make the most of his chances. Ding will face Mark King in the last 16.

McManus should be content with the level of his performance in his first appearance at the Crucible since 2006.

But he will also realise that a highest break of 64 over 15 frames was never going to be good enough to undo a player as potent as Ding no matter the strength of his tactical game.

"I would love to have made it closer but it was a big mountain to claw back and Ding was a worthy winner," said McManus. "I have thoroughly enjoyed being here again. The arena does not change out there and that is a good thing. There is a lot of pressure out there and it is a big occasion whoever you play out there.

"I am looking forward to next season already. It would be nice to have a month or so off, but that is not going to happen. Instead of six or seven tournaments we now have over 20. You always seem to be active which is a good thing."

FIRST SESSION REPORT

Alan McManus's first match at the World Championship since 2006 turned sour as he fell 7-2 behind against Ding Junhui at the Crucible Theatre.

Scotsman McManus was playing his match at the Sheffield tournament since he lost 10-3 to Marco Fu in the first round seven years ago, and started strongly enough by winning two of the first three frames.

But the Glaswegian player - the 1994 Masters champion - was forced to sit and suffer as a lack of scoring prowess saw 2011 Masters winner Ding snare the next five frames to leave himself only three frames short of a meeting with Mark King in the last 16.

McManus - who qualified for the tournament and finds himself at 50th in the rankings - was priced at 250/1 to win the world title.

Those odds will have lengthened considerably with his best knocks of the match - only 47 and 46 - helping him establish a 2-1 lead.

Ding wore a black armband and canned his walkout music as he paid his respects to the victims of the earthquake that saw 188 people killed and over 11,000 injured in Sichuan province in China on Saturday.

He was certainly focused on his game at the sport's most celebrated event as a 131 helped him restore parity at 1-1 before further runs of 67, 61, 129, 51 and an 81 saw China's only hope of landing this year's title into a healthy lead before they play to a conclusion on Wednesday morning.

McManus blew an obvious chance to land the eighth frame when he missed a cut on the final red to enable the world number nine Ding back in to mop up the remaining balls to move 6-2 ahead.

McManus was forced to sit and suffer some more in the final frame of the day when missing a red to a centre bag proved so costly holding a 46-5 lead as Ding compiled 81 to finish off the session in some style.

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