Ding ends day on top to edge ahead of defending champion Selby

Ding Junhui and Ronnie O'Sullivan all-square after mesmerising opening session

The 33-year-old from Leicester accepts he can not turn on the style all the time, even though his quarter-final annihilation of Marco Fu's title hopes showed Selby has plenty in reserve in case he becomes involved in a shoot-out of big breaks.

That was despite some serious pressure late in the match from O'Sullivan.

The world number one had cruised through to the last four, dropping only 11 frames in comfortable victories over Fergal O'Brien, Xiao Guodong and Marco Fu but, as expected, Ding was proving to be a far more formidable opponent.

Indeed Ding, whose exploits has unleashed a wave of Chinese snooker talent, finished it with a flourish recording a break of 110 in the final frame. "I just wish him all the best". I don't have a good record against Ronnie.

"I think their window is closing with the players they have now that they have to win and they're good enough to win, but I'm anxious that, as we saw past year, putting so much pressure on themselves to accomplish something, I'm not sure they're going to be able to live up to expectations".

"It's a decade on, he's in a great place. I have had the best year of my life and not been winning many tournaments", he said.

However, Ding will be mindful that the semi-final has a long way to go with it being the best of 33 frames.

Murphy went on to lose 13-7 to O'Sullivan and will have to wait at least another year if he is to add another world title to the one he lifted in 2005.

Twenty years ago O'Sullivan pocketed £165,000 for a World Championship maximum that took just five minutes and 20 seconds, but this year the 41-year-old's reward would have been £15,000, made up of a high-break prize of £10,000 and a £5,000 147 bonus.

O'Sullivan declined a 147 in similar circumstances at last year's Welsh Open. And I won't stop playing just because I am not winning tournaments.

As for O'Sullivan, the chance of a sixth world title slipped by, and he could be joined on five wins by Higgins come Monday night.

Selby looked set to carry a lead over Ding into the third and final day of their contest, especially so when a clutch clearance of 45 nudged him 12-10 ahead.

There was no familiar threat of retirement nor any sense of disenchantment from O'Sullivan, who vowed to be back on tour next season.

"I just play the balls as I see them", he said.

"Now Carson Palmer's coming back, Larry Fitzgerald may be coming back for his last year, you lost a bunch of guys that played big roles in the last couple of years".

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