DING JUNHUI won his first Welsh Open title tonight beating Mark Selby 9-6 in a high quality final.
In an entertaining match, Ding held his nerve to clinch a deserved victory and win his fifth world ranking title.
Selby also played his part at Newport scoring the tournament’s biggest break of 145 and complied two other century breaks but it was the man from China who stayed on top with an impressive display of snooker.
The win will be a huge boost for Ding, who before tournament seemed to be out of form, and will go into April’s World Championship full of confidence after added this major title to his CV.
The final got off to a blistering start with world-number-one Selby hitting a stylish century break to give him a 1-0 lead. But Ding fought back and levelled the match at 1-1 with a break of 64.
Selby regained the lead with yet another century break only for his opponent to level again at 2-2 at the mid-session interval.
After the break, Ding took the lead for the first time winning a scrappy fifth frame and then opened up a two-frame lead with a break of 90 to go 4-2 up.
Selby, having lost three consecutive frames, managed to stop the rot and won a vital seventh frame with a run off 66. But his hopes of levelling the final at the halfway stage were ended when a frame winning break of 51 from Ding proved decisive and gave him a valuable 5-3 lead.
Selby got off to a great start in the evening session making a frame-winning break of 73 to reduce his deficit to just one frame after Ding missed an easy brown off its spot.
The tenth frame saw Ding respond in emphatic style with a quality break of 83 which restored his two frame advantage and lead 6-4.
Selby won the next frame with a break of 91 despite Ding having the better of the opening exchanges. Leading 34-0, Ding missed a longish red to leave the Jester from Leicester in the balls.
But the man from China made sure he went into the mid-session interval with his two-frame lead in tact hitting a century break of 124. Ding took full advantage after Mark missed a bread and butter red at the start of the frame.
Ding returned to the table after the mid-session interval and carried on from where he left off. A superb break of 130 including some stunning long pots put him firmly in control and within a whisker of claiming the Welsh Open trophy. It was the first time a player moved into a three-frame lead and Selby had it all to do.
Well, he could do not much more in the next frame. Selby showed why he is the world’s number one player with a superb break of 145 – including 14 blacks – to make it 6-8.
But it was the 15th frame which saw Ding claim the title. After a fascinating safety battle, Selby made the mistake of leaving a red over the corner pocket and a break of 42 put Ding in control.
Later in the frame, Selby fouled hitting the pink when playing a red after a great safety from his opponent. Ding then potted the balls needed to clinch the frame and the match.
Both players played their part in what was a special final for the tournament and the Newport crowd.