Chinese snooker star Ding Junhui eased into the second round of the world championships on Tuesday with a 10 frames to three demolition of compatriot and close friend Xiao Guodong.
Ding, who lost to Mark Selby in the 2016 final, rattled off the first four frames of the session to seal victory and will play either Scotland’s Anthony McGill or Welshman Ryan Day in the next round.
The 31-year-old Ding – who ousted five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan on his way to a semi-final defeat, also by Selby, last year – said he felt in the groove in his latest bid to become the first Chinese player to win the title.
“I scored heavy. I started very strong and just tried to play my shots,” said Ding, who has 13 top tournament victories to his credit.
“I am confident with my form and playing well, scoring well and playing good safety. I am happy.”
Ding’s chances of securing the title appear to have improved with Selby surprisingly going out in the first round and another former world champion Shaun Murphy also bowing out.
Ding, though, is unconcerned about his rivals’ fortunes nor whom he plays.
“I am not worried about my opponent. I think about myself. I try to smile and not worry if I miss chances,” said Ding, who has gone beyond the first round at the worlds on nine occasions.