China A and China B both made it into the semi-finals of the Little Swan Snooker World Cup, raising home fans’ hopes of an all-Chinese final.
Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo of China A beat Wales 4-1 in the quarter-finals while defending champions Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao of China B edged out Belgium 4-3.
China A will take on Thailand in the semi-finals on Sunday while China B will face England.
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Ding and Liang lifted the trophy in 2011 and they are now two wins away from another team title.
A 33 clearance from Liang gave him the opening frame against Mark Williams, then Ding made a break of 68 to beat Ryan Day. The doubles frame also went to China and Liang led 44-0 in frame four, only for Day to make a 69 clearance. But there would be no fight back for Wales as Ding got the better of Williams in frame five.
Ding said: “We all played with caution and there was a lot of safety. We were not attempting to take a risk, even at the beginning. I missed a lot of chances but we got lucky at the end.”
Liang added: “I’m cueing differently almost every day but I try my hardest on every shot. We try our best as sportsmen, and we sum up the experience after each match. We respect every opponent, and it only gets tougher. Hopefully I will make progress, and make sure that I do not make silly mistakes.”
Zhou – won the decider for China B
China B were 2-1 down, despite a break of 98 from Zhou to beat Jeff Jacobs in the second frame. The next two frames went China’s way then they lost a marathon 58-minute sixth to leave the score at 3-3. But Zhou got the better of Luca Brecel in the decider, winning it 80-28 with a top break of 59.
Zhou said: “It was a really tough match and the opponent played well. We didn’t want to play a deciding frame, but I managed to stay calm and I’m happy with my performance at the end. Looking forward to the match against England, I’m feeling very confident at the moment.”
Yan added: “I’m the bad member of the team this year and I didn’t fancy my chances in the deciding frame, so I left him with all the tough work. Zhou has been saving the team from dangerous scenarios this week and he also took the deciding frame to put us in the final last time. I have strong faith in my team partner. Before the match I had the feeling that we were going to win, but not an easy win.”