/ Snooker

Ding Junhui triumphs in China

Updated: Sunday, 03 Nov 2013 16:37 | Comments

Ding Junhui became the first snooker player this century to win three successive ranking titles
Ding Junhui became the first snooker player this century to win three successive ranking titles

Ding Junhui became the first snooker player this century to win three successive ranking titles after he defeated Hong Kong's Marco Fu in a closely-contested final of the International Championship in Chengdu.

The 26-year-old defeated Fu 10-9 in a tense finale as the clock ticked past midnight in China to follow up his wins at the Shanghai Masters and Indian Open.

Victory for Ding means he has pocketed prize money of £257,000 over a six-week spell and he joins Peter Ebdon and John Parrott with nine ranking titles to his name.

In a tense, evenly-matched final which ebbed and flowed, Ding wrapped up victory with a break of 91 in the last frame to finish with a flourish.

Ding had led Fu 5-4 at the end of the first session before he returned to claim the 10th frame with a break of 108 to move into a two-frame lead in the best-of-19 final.

The next frame turned into a war of attrition, with both players demonstrating the full range of their safety play and waiting to see who would be the first one to blink.

Fu ended the stand-off with a long-range red in a scrappy frame that lasted 50 minutes and went on to edge out Ding to trail 6-5.

The 35-year-old then produced a more fluid display to pull level with Ding, firing a composed break of 105.

Fu had been on course for a maximum, but he missed the black with only one red left on the table as he tried to free it from a tight position next to the pink.

He then followed it up with a break of 71 in the 13th frame to take a 7-6 lead over Ding into the mid-session interval.

Ding, who defeated Fu 10-4 in the final of the 2011 Masters, tied the match after some much-needed table time of his own, leaving both players needing three frames to claim the title.

Fu edged ahead again to take an 8-7 lead but Ding hit back immediately as the match remained on a knife edge, with neither player willing to cede any ground.

Another safety battle dominated the start of the 17th frame before Fu settled into a rhythm to put 43 points on the board.

However, Ding was not to be undone, and the Chinese fought back to within three points before ball positioning dictated the need to play safe.

Fu returned to the table and started another break with a difficult red down the cushion, but he missed the yellow which Ding then potted from a difficult position, although the drama continued as the younger player missed the green.

Fu returned and sunk the green and brown to leave Ding requiring snookers, and with the frame time already tipping an hour, the players fought out a tense battle for points.

Ding got one of the two snookers he needed but Fu then flukily potted the blue, with Ding deciding to concede to leave his opponent within one frame of the title.

However, it was no surprise that the match was taken to a deciding frame, as Ding put on a break of 58 to leave Fu needing three snookers.

The Hong Kong-born player immediately conceded to set up a tense finale which saw Ding build a fine break of 91 to claim an impressive victory.

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