Could 2018 be just the ticket for Ding Junhui at Crucible?

Ding Junhui.
Ding Junhui.
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Tickets for next year’s Betfred World Championship go on sale today and Ding Junhui is already thinking of next year’s Crucible return.

Such is the demand for seats to snooker’s most prestigious event, organisers know many sessions will sell-out when they open for business this morning.

Ding Junhui meets fans outside the Crucible.

Ding Junhui meets fans outside the Crucible.

And Ding, edged out in Saturday’s semi-final losing 17-15 by defending champion Mark Selby, has his sights firmly on 2018.

Only a missed blue from Ding at 16-15 prevented the Chinese potter from levelling, to force a final-frame decider.

It gifted Selby - the world No 1 who also beat Ding in last year’s Crucible final - victory, and left the 30-year-old to rue his miss.

Ding said: “If I hadn’t missed that blue it would definitely have gone to a final frame.

“Mark played well in the end. I should have won more frames and taken my chances earlier in the session. I had too many mistakes but that is what happens. I can see myself improving a lot, I played with more confidence and more aggression.

“I’m disappointed to lose when I played well, but sometimes you have to take it, because it is sport. I’ve got more experience here, I’m just over 30 and there is still a long way to go and many years left here. I believe next year will be good.”