Ali Carter has won the 2016 World Open after a 10-8 victory over Joe Perry in Yushan on Sunday.
The 37 year-old adds a fourth ranking event title to his collection, pockets £90,000, and returns to the top 16 in the world rankings following the success.
It looked as though the ‘Captain’ was going to coast to victory when he led 8-3 and 9-5 but his opponent, who struggled for most of the final, dug deep to almost force a decider.
Carter held his nerve, though, with a wonderful 127 total clearance in the last frame to ensure his return to the big-time.
It completes a remarkable turnaround for the Englishman, who this time two years ago was in the middle of battling his second cancer scare.
While he courageously mounted his physical recovery, Carter missed several events of that season and, even though his ranking was frozen for a period, he duly slipped way down the standings and was even in danger of dropping outside the top 32.
Yet, Carter has always been a much better player than that and is back where he belongs now in the higher echelons of the sport.
Capturing the trophy in China will be all the more sweet too considering his long-term battle with Crohn’s disease – an illness which has caused him considerable discomfort and forced him to completely alter his diet.
Carter’s life then has been shaped by his own will and determination, attributes which aided him accordingly in today’s showdown with his countryman.
The final began in forgettable fashion as neither competitor could settle and each were notching up the error count.
Perry seemed to have been scoring the better with runs of 78, 56 and 54 to lead 3-2 but any degree of confidence he boasted collapsed as he looked a shadow of his imperious self that outplayed Neil Robertson with three consecutive centuries in Saturday’s semi-final.
By contrast, Carter’s confidence began to grow as he took advantage of his wilting challenger to reel off six successive frames for an 8-3 advantage.
Jolted by the realisation that his hopes of a second ranking title were fast receding, Perry finally sprung to life with a pair of tons to reduce the gap to one.
But Carter’s impressive finish ensured that there would be no dramatic conclusion and it was the two-time World Championship finalist’s first win at this level since the 2013 German Masters.
A successful return for the World Open to the calendar then, with decent crowds in Yushan all week and a deserving champion in Ali Carter.