Ding and Fu all set for grand final

Ding Junhui

Ding Junhui

IN-FORM star Ding Junhui hopes tiredness will not affect him in his bid to become the first player in more than 23 years to win three consecutive major ranking events.

This season’s Shanghai Masters and Indian Open winner booked his place in the International Championship final earlier today after a 9-7 win over former world champion Graeme Dott.

Should Ding beat Marco Fu on Sunday, he will be the first player to have secured a major ranking hat-trick since Stephen Hendry who won five events on the bounce in 1990.

As well as the International Championship trophy, the winner will take home the tournament’s top cash prize of £125,000.

The final, which will be the best out of 19 frames, will be the third consecutive all-Asian final as the season continues to be dominated by the talent from the Far East.

The match is expected to be a fascinating battle between arguably the best two performing players of the season so far with the pair having played a combined total of seven finals since the start of the campaign.

And speaking to World Snooker after his semi-final win, Ding said he would be giving it his all to take the title.

“I hope to have a great final with Fu tomorrow,” he said. “I beat him in the Masters final in 2011 so he must be desperate for revenge.

“I think we will both try our best. I don’t think I have any advantage here and it’s all about my performance, strategy and use of experience. It’s important to play consistently and neither of us will be afraid of each other’s game.

“There are not many long matches these days as at most of the tournaments we play best of 7 or 9 frames, apart from the final. So tomorrow’s final will cost me some energy and I will get really tired after it.

“But I will try hard on every shot and every frame, otherwise I won’t be satisfied with myself.”

Fu, aiming to clinch his third ranking title of his career, said he will need to perform better than he did in his thrilling semi-final win over Joe Perry if he is to get his hands on the trophy.

“I’m really looking forward to the final, I hope I can play ten times better otherwise I won’t stand a chance,” he said.

“I hadn’t been to a ranking final in a few years, so to reach three in the same year is quite an achievement and very satisfying.”

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