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Snooker: Ding out of worlds as Hawkins wins

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Ding Junhui's hopes of becoming the first Chinese player to win the world snooker title are on hold for another year following a 13-7 quarter-final defeat by England's Barry Hawkins at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre on Wednesday.

The match was still in the balance, with Hawkins only two frames in front at 9-7, when the best of 25-frame contest resumed on Tuesday. But Hawkins made short work of former UK and Masters champion Ding by reeling off the four frames he needed to claim his second major scalp of the tournament.

"It's unbelievable," Hawkins told the BBC. "I'm absolutely delighted to make it through to the one-table set-up and I'm pleased with how I held it together at the end.

"That was the biggest win for me and I'm just going to enjoy every moment. I have nothing to lose so we will see what happens," added Hawkins, who is now set to play the winner of the match between Ricky Walden and Michael White in the semi-finals.

"I didn't sleep great last night and I woke up early this morning due to the nerves, but I managed to take the first frame today and that settled me down."

Hawkins had previously defeated world number one Mark Selby and Ding's side of the draw also saw early exits for Australian former world champion Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and Stephen Maguire.

Six previous visits to the Crucible had resulted in Ding just once before going beyond the second round, when he lost to Judd Trump in the 2011 semi-finals.

But after defeating England's Mark King to book a place in this year's last eight, the Chinese cue man, who is based in the northern English city of Sheffield, said he felt more at home in the Crucible than in front of an adoring home crowd in China, where snooker is a fast-growing sport.

However, he failed to recapture the heights he had hit against King, who had claimed that on that form, even current world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan would struggle to beat him, with Ding largely listless in defeat by Hawkins.

Ding, 26, has been working on the mental side of his game with 1979 world champion Terry Griffiths and says he is open to collaborating with other former professionals.

"It might be good to get help from an old player's experience, but I haven't got anyone to help me, so I do everything myself," Ding said.

"I'd like to listen if they could tell me something I'm doing wrong."

He added: "I've only had one week off in the last year. I really need a holiday, just to be free for a day. I'm not disappointed. I can relax now. It's all over now.

"For a long time I've had morning sessions and I can't sleep at night. I couldn't sleep very well last (Tuesday) night. Sometimes if bad things happen in the day, they stay in your mind."

Meanwhile, O'Sullivan himself was just one frame away from victory in his quest to reach the semi-finals, leading Stuart Bingham 12-4 ahead of the start of the final session of their match later on Wednesday.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130501/snooker-ding-out-worlds-hawkins-wins-0