Monday, 20 February 2012

King Ding of Wales

Ding Junhui's capture of the Welsh Open crown marks his sixth major title and confirms his place among the elite band of top players in today's game.

His 9-6 win against Mark Selby in Newport is his first top prize since his triumph at the Masters a little over a year ago, and the manner in which he sealed it was trademark of the Chinese superstar.

Picture by Monique Limbos
With a narrow lead of just 6-5, he went on to hit back-to-back centuries to move just one frame away from victory and taking the game beyond the world number one.

This is exactly what Ding does best. He showed again just why his proficient break-building is such a valuable asset.

The world number seven is absolutely blessed in this department. He scores quickly and heavily and keeps the cueball under close control.

He was winner in a high-standard final in which both players impressed.

But Victory last night sparked debate in certain quarters over whether the Chinese prodigy has under-achieved.

He first truly burst onto the scene winning the 2005 China Open, just a day after his 18th birthday, to become the second youngest winner of a ranking title behind Ronnie O'Sullivan.

By the age of 20 he had already chalked up three ranking titles and was tipped by many to go on to dominate.

Instead, he has gradually added to his haul and perhaps hasn't won titles as quickly as many predicted because of the such intense competition among players at the top end of the rankings.

Despite this, there is no denying Ding has blossomed into a wonderful player.

He is still only 24-years-old and has already won two UK Championship titles plus a Masters trophy. Earlier this year he came almighty close to reaching the World Championship final. Only an inspired Judd Trump denied him a shot at the Crucible crown but it is universally believed he will one day win the sport's biggest prize.

Ding is China's greatest snooker import and his achievement of kick-starting a wave of popularity  for the sport in his native country is arguably his most impressive of all. The titles he has won at such a young age while having to adapt to life in a foreign country, away from his friends and family is not to be under-estimated.

He has established himself among the top eight players in the world and is always considering to be one of a clutch of players capable of winning every big tournament.

If you ask me about Ding, I think he's doing just fine.


  1. in today's game, where the competition is so intense, winning one of the major ranking events per season is already considered an achievement. anything more than that is a bumper year. forget about the joe davis, steve davis, stephen hendry eras of dominance, snooker was largely a semi-professional sport in those times.