DING Junhui’s impeccable season continued earlier today as he was crowned the winner of the China Open following a convincing win over Neil Robertson in the final.
China’s number one star was in dominant form over the world number one as a 10-5 victory gave him his fifth major title of the season following his success in the Shanghai Masters, Indian Open, International Championship and the German Masters over the course of the past seven months.
Seven times world snooker champion Stephen Hendry was the last player to win five major titles in a single season back in the early 1990s meaning Ding’s record-equaling win today will go down in the history books.
This latest win from Ding should give him huge amount confidence going into snooker’s biggest tournament – The World Championship – starting on Saturday, April 19.
Ding has never lifted the world crown before but if he takes this form into the Crucible Theatre then it is fair to say not many in the game will be able to stop him in his bid to become the first Chinese player to become snooker’s world champion.
Despite defeat Robertson can take heart from an impressive week which he has battled illness and some tough matches along the way (three 5-4 wins) to show why he is one of the world’s best players.
Breaks of 87 and 61 gave Ding the perfect start to this final giving him an early 2-0 lead which was extended further in the third frame when the China ace potted the final black.
Robertson, who was bidding to defended the title he won twelve months ago, got into the match winning the fourth frame to reduce his arrears to 3-1.
But Ding stepped up a gear in the next three frames as breaks of 119 and 59 helped him to a significant 6-1 lead with still two frames of the opening session to play.
Robertson won his second frame of the contest by recording his 93rd century break of the season of 102. And the Australian looked to be in charge of the next frame but missed a black off its spot when leading 47-7.
The miss proved costly as it let Ding back into the frame before a stunning long brown helped him clinch a 7-2 lead going into the evening session.
Robertson won the opening frame of the session but Ding edged closer to the title with a break of 104 to go just two frames away from glory.
The next frame saw Robertson reduce his deficit to 8-4 after he cleared from the last red. But he could not follow it up as Ding took the next frame to edge even closer to victory.
The see-saw nature of the second session continued as Robertson made it 9-5 but a break of 66 saw Ding make history as he claimed another pretigious title – his eleventh ranking title of his career.
Ding’s Road to China Open glory
R1 beat John ASTLEY 5-1
R2 beat Thepchaiya Un-NOOH 5-3
R3 beat John HIGGINS 5-2
QF beat Mark KING 5-2
SF beat Mike DUNN 6-0
Final beat Neil ROBERTSON 10-5