Ding gains upper hand over snooker champion Selby

China's 2016 world finalist Ding Jinhui took the first steps to avenging last year's defeat as he will go into Friday's second session of his world championship semi-final leading champion Mark Selby 5-3.

The 30-year-old, who received a congratulatory kiss and heaps of compliments from the mercurial five-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan after beating him on Wednesday, was twice pegged back by Selby when he took the lead.

Selby edged in front at 3-2 but Ding rattled off the final three frames of the session to secure a two frame advantage.

Indeed Ding, whose exploits has unleashed a wave of Chinese snooker talent, finished it with a flourish recording a break of 110 in the final frame.

However, Ding will be mindful that the semi-final has a long way to go with it being the best of 33 frames.

O'Sullivan, though, believes he is capable of going the whole way and becoming China's first ever world champion.

"He's a special lad, a beautiful guy, and I know his family really well so I know he comes from good stock," said O'Sullivan.

"He's all good, Ding. He wants to win this title so bad. He's in a good place."

Four-time world champion John Higgins holds a 5-3 lead over Barry Hawkins, who beat both Selby and Ding on his way to the 2013 final.

Higgins, appearing in the semi-finals for the first time since his fourth championship win in 2011, led 4-0 at one point.

However, Hawkins redoubtable battling skills saw him win three of the final four frames including a break of 74 in the final one of the night to send him to bed in a happier frame of mind than looked likely at one point.