Ding Junhui dominates opening session of UK Championship final in York

Ding Junhui fired three centuries as he closed in a fourth career UK Championship win after a dominant first session of the final against Mark Allen in York.

The Chinese player, down to 38 in the world rankings, is bidding to become the first qualifier to win the prestigious event since he claimed his maiden title in 2005.

And having handed Ronnie O’Sullivan his first major whitewash earlier in the tournament, Ding was once again in ruthless form to establish a 6-2 lead heading into Sunday evening’s concluding session.

Runs of 52 and 70 put Ding in command and despite Allen dredging out the third, successive century breaks from Ding of 126 and 135 either side of the interval established his full control.

Allen looked all over the place as he surrendered two good opportunities to hang Ding a 5-1 lead, and he was ruthlessly punished in the next when a missed straight red let in Ding for a quickfire break of 102.

Allen gave himself a flicker of hope when he capitalised on a missed red by Ding in the final frame of the afternoon session to compile a frame-winning 79.