Mark Selby has joined Ding Junhui in the final of the International Championship after a superb performance in beating Stuart Bingham 9-3 on Saturday in Daqing.
The world no.1 lost the opening two frames as Bingham raced out of the blocks with runs of 58 and a terrific 127.
However, in a high-scoring affair Bingham was only able to manage one extra frame – in which he compiled a second ton – as Selby grew in confidence throughout the contest to eventually steamroller his opponent.
The victory sets up a mouthwatering clash with Ding, with the pair rekindling a budding rivalry which has begun to blossom over the course of the last few months.
In May, the duo contested a marvelous World Championship final which Selby prevailed in an 18-14 epic, while just last month Ding gained a modicum of revenge as he claimed a second Shanghai Masters crown at the expense of the ‘Jester’.
Overall, Selby and Ding have met 24 times in professional competition dating all the way back to the 2002 China Open, with the former boasting a narrowly superior head-to-head record.
Of course, home favourite Ding will have a legion of support backing his cause to add a second International Championship crown to the one he captured in 2013 when the tournament was previously staged in Chengdu.
During that season, the 29 year-old collected a record-equaling five ranking event trophies and he is certainly looking in the same kind of form at present.
Sunday’s final represents the Chinese no.1’s 17th in a ranking event, of which he has already managed 12 victories during an illustrious career.
A 13th success would put him alone in sixth place in the all-time winners’ list, just five behind Welsh legend Mark Williams.
Selby, meanwhile, is also seeking a second ranking title of this campaign after triumphing in the Paul Hunter Classic in August.
The 33 year-old is chasing a ninth overall and will probably begin tomorrow’s showdown as the marginal bookie’s favourite – particularly after compiling three tons and six further runs above 50 in his semi-final rout of Bingham.
Ding, though, has developed in stature right throughout the competition ever since he fought back from 5-2 down to deny Mitchell Mann in his held over qualifying round encounter last Sunday.
That all seems a long time ago now and both competitors will have their goals set on pocketing the lucrative £125,000 champion’s cheque.
Either way, it promises to be a barnstorming affair between two of the sport’s most in-form cuemen.
Categories: Snooker News