Snooker: Ding on course to retain Chinese title

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Ding Junhui remained on course to retain his China Open title in Beijing yesterday with a 5-0 whitewash of Joe Swail in the quarter-finals to set up today's semi-final against Mark Williams.

"It's not guaranteed that I will win, the way I am playing at the moment," the 18-year-old home favourite said. "But the important thing is that I have stability in every game."

Williams progressed by a surprise 5-1 margin over the provisional world No 1, Stephen Hendry, and is looking to reach his first ranking event final since 2003.

Ding won yesterday's opening frame on the colours and took the next two despite a top break of 32. He hit his stride with a 114 to take the fourth before edging the fifth against an out-of-sorts Swail.

"There won't be many people wanting me to beat Ding but I don't mind that," said Williams, who has won four titles in Asia.

John Higgins and Ken Doherty reached today's other semi-final, scheduled for 7am UK time, by beating Joe Perry (5-2) and Stephen Lee (also 5-2) respectively.