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Ding into 2nd Round of Northern Ireland Trophy
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Ding Junhui came back from 4-2 down to take the last three frames and beat Paul Davies in an absorbing first-round match in the Northern Ireland Trophy. The Chinese star looked dead and buried when his opponent built a decent lead needing just a single frame to progress.

But Ding took his chance when Davies missed, and managed to hold on to the next to set up a tense final frame.

Both players had chances to win a long, tactical battle, but Ding knocked in a superb blue and pink to move on to a second-round match against Anthony Hamilton.

The Chinese double act was complete when 18-year-old Tian Pengfei snatched a memorable 5-3 win over left-hander Andy Hicks.

This is Tian's rookie pro season and he had to win three qualifying matches to make it to Belfast. Clearly a prospect who could follow in Ding's footsteps, he got the better of experienced Hicks by coming from 2-1 down to win with breaks of 50, 62 and 115.

The teenager, also based at the Academy, now faces former world champion Shaun Murphy.

In other matches on Monday, world number 21 Michael Holt suffered a shock first-round defeat by qualifier Mike Dunn, while local favorite Mark Allen slumped to a 5-1 defeat to Welshman Ryan Day.

And Thailand's James Wattana recorded a 5-4 win over Pontefract player Jimmy Michie, knocking in breaks of 44, 61, 59 and 64 to set up a second-round match against provisional world number one Ken Doherty.

(CRI August 15, 2006)

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