250 million to go potty for Stephen Hendry tie

A MASSIVE audience of 250 million TV viewers is expected to tune in to watch seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry take on Chinese No 1 Ding Junhui in the forthcoming East v West Challenge in Beijing.

Ding ended 2009 by taking the UK Championship title, second only to the world championship, having already this season reached the final of the Grand Prix in Glasgow, and is a massive draw for audiences in the Far East.

Hendry, who is concentrating on his Welsh Open ambitions when he opens his campaign in Newport against Dave Harold today, is looking forward to his date in China. "Ding has been the form player in ranking events this season reaching two finals," said Hendry. "So the chance to take him on over two days in a best-of-25 frame match situation is one where I can really gauge my own form against a player who will be amongst the favourites for the world title this spring."

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The East v West match-up – which takes place over the weekend of February 6-7 to coincide with the New Year celebrations in China – will be broadcast by Beijing TV and streamed live and exclusively by 110sport TV. Hendry added: "The thought of facing Ding again in Beijing is really exciting."