/ Snooker

Ding Junhui secures Shanghai Masters

Updated: Monday, 23 Sep 2013 09:18 | Comments

Ding Junhui: 'I wanted it more than anybody.'
Ding Junhui: 'I wanted it more than anybody.'

Ding Junhui saw off Xiao Guodong 10-6 to win the Shanghai Masters in snooker's first ever all-Chinese ranking final.

The growth of the sport in Asia has been pronounced, with four ranking events this season in China alone and a host of players emerging.

This is the first time two of them have gone all the way in a ranking event, though, and it was the more established Ding who prevailed to win his seventh title - and his second on home soil, following the 2005 China Open.

Xiao, who had never previously been beyond the quarter-finals of a ranking event, had promised after his semi-final win over Michael Holt: "I'm going to lift the trophy".

However, he fell 2-0 behind as Ding made a break of 78 in the second frame.

The underdog levelled the match at 2-2 and then 3-3 but Ding reeled off three in a row, sparked by a 126, to lead 6-3 after the first session.

He repeated the dose after Xiao won the first frame of the evening session, meaning Xiao would need to win all six after the second interval.

He took the first two to give himself a glimmer of hope and led 45-7 in the next, but Ding came back with a clearance of 71 to win frame and match.

As well as his century in frame seven, Ding made seven further breaks over 50 in a fluent performance.

He told worldsnooker.com: "Before the final I knew I needed to build an early lead, and I had to keep my safety strong to force my opponent to give me chances.

"I built a three-frame lead in the afternoon session because Xiao's safety was not as good as mine. But he managed to play relaxed and open frames in the evening so he did pull some frames back, after I had reached nine.

"I'm just happy that I managed to win my 10th frame with a solid break."

Ding was thrilled after the historic win and hopes to see his compatriots continue their push into the top echelons of the game.

"I had to let my emotions go after winning the tournament," he said.

"This showed how much I wanted this title, I wanted it more than anybody. But there was less pressure on me than in the past when I played here in China.

"Liang Wenbo has been in the final of this tournament too (in 2009) so hopefully there will be many more chances for the players from China. The young generation is growing up quickly so their days will come soon."

Xiao said: "Today is a historic day, no matter whether I won or not. Two Chinese players performing a top-class match on worldwide stage.

"I'm so proud of myself, being a Chinese player. It's a special experience for me.

"I've always dreamed of winning a title but I wasn't very comfortable out there because this is my first ranking final. I'll be more relaxed next time.

"I hope not to disappear from sight and hopefully I will take part in many more world class tournaments."

Ding scooped a top prize of £80,000 for his efforts, with Xiao earning £35,000.

Barry Hawkins, beaten by Ding in the semi-finals, took the £2,000 high break prize for his 140 in his quarter-final against Mark Selby.

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use