Ding Wins Three in a Row

Ding Junhui has won the International Championship to become the first player in two decades to capture three consecutive ranking event titles.

In a thoroughly dramatic and topsy-turvy final with Hong Kong’s Marco Fu, Ding came from 9-8 down to prevail in a decider 10-9 and add to the Shanghai Masters and Indian Open trophies he collected in September and October.

The match will go down as one of the all-time great finals in an event that is quickly becoming one of the most prestigious to win.

Littered with high-quality snooker throughout, the match was a mixed bag of wonderful break-building from both players and equally dogmatic tactical battles as well.

China’s Ding, who now leads the way with most ranking event titles by a player outside of Britain with nine, compiled an incredible five century breaks along with a brace of 90s.

Fu recorded two centuries of his own, the second a 105 when he missed the 14th black off the spot in a maximum 147 attempt.

The match was a fiercely contested affair that highlighted the confidence soaring through Asian snooker at the moment.

This was the third all-Asian ranking event final in a row and it was being contested by the two players who had lifted the last three trophies – Fu having won the Australian Open in July.

And it looked like Fu was going to add to his own tally of tournament victories when he survived Ding’s barrage of tons to come from 6-4 down to lead 7-6, 8-7 and 9-8.

But a fantastic, gritty 58 from Ding in the penultimate frame forced the decider, a frame in which he dominated in convincing fashion to prevail yet again.

His triumph ensures he becomes the first player since Stephen Hendry in 1993 to win three ranking events on the trot, and the first to do so in the same season since the Scot achieved the feat in 1990.

The rankings, for now, may suggest otherwise but Ding is without doubt the best player on the planet and is firmly dispelling the theories that nobody is capable of dominating in this era.

Tomorrow, I’ll reflect more on this magnificent match and Ding’s prospects for the future but for now all that is left to say is congratulations.

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