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World Snooker Championship 2018: Barry Hawkins leads Ding Junhui in quarter-final

Barry Hawkins has reached the last eight at the Crucible for the sixth successive year
2018 World Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 21 April – 7 May
Coverage: Watch live across BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Tournament favourite Ding Junhui struggled to find his best form as Barry Hawkins took a 5-3 lead in their World Championship quarter-final.

World number six Hawkins, 39, has an excellent Crucible record, having been runner-up in 2013 and a semi-finalist in three of the past four years.

The opening two frames were shared, with China’s world number three, 31, responding to a Hawkins break of 64.

But Hawkins was always ahead after that, scoring four breaks above 50.

The Englishman looked comfortable and assured, while Ding struggled to replicate the destructive display which saw him thrash Anthony McGill in round two.

Breaks of 76 and 67 did help Ding, the runner-up to Mark Selby in 2016, get back to 4-3, but Hawkins took a scrappy final frame to ensure he is two ahead when they resume in Tuesday’s evening session (19:00 BST).

‘Hawkins has settled better than Ding’

Analysis – Dennis Taylor, 1985 world champion

I’m a big fan of Barry. He is one of the best match players in the tournament and has looked very fluent so far. He has settled better than Ding, who has looked a little bit edgy.

The pressure on him in China is massive. If he could win, the country would go absolutely ballistic. They back and support him brilliantly but it adds to the pressure.

The chance is here for him with a lot of top players going out, but that brings even more expectation.

Masters finalists put on attacking masterclass

Mark Allen is playing in his first Crucible quarter-final since 2011

In a repeat of January’s Masters final, Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen and England’s Kyren Wilson were level at 4-4 after a high-quality and open first session.

Masters champion Allen took the opener with a break of 60 – the first of seven breaks of more than 50 in the eight frames played.

But world number nine Wilson responded with a frame-winning 52 and then went 2-1 ahead with the only century of their match so far, a carefully constructed 125.

The Kettering man, 26, had a great chance to go 3-1 up but struggled to keep position on the colours and Allen stole the frame to level with a brilliant long black.

Wilson, making his third consecutive last-eight appearance at snooker’s showpiece event, made it 3-2 with a 90 and a brilliant green with the rest along the cushion helped Wilson clinch the seventh frame.

But Allen pounced on a mistake, compiling a break of 78, to ensure a thrilling session ended all square.

The afternoon session, starting at 14:30 BST, sees the other two remaining quarter-finals get under way.

Two-time winner Mark Williams takes on Ronnie O’Sullivan’s conqueror Ali Carter and four-time champion John Higgins faces world number four Judd Trump in a repeat of the 2011 final.

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