Mark Selby has won the International Championship for the first time after destroying Ding Junhui in the final 10-1.
The ‘Jester’ failed to replicate the high level of power scoring from his superb semi-final victory over Stuart Bingham, but gained the upper hand early and duly never relinquished his advantage.
Ding represented a jaded figure as he lost eight out of the opening nine frames during the first session, reminiscent of how he went so far behind to Selby early on in their World Championship final epic in May.
The Chinese favourite never looked like producing a comeback like he had threatened at the Crucible and a handful of half-centuries were sufficient in Selby’s Sunday success.
The result means that the pair’s developing rivalry now stands at two wins apiece in ranking event finals.
It’ll be disappointment of course for Ding, who lost in a final of this status for only the fifth time in his career but, considering he was 5-2 down to Mitchell Mann this day last week in his held over preliminary encounter, it was still another strong outing for China’s no.1.
Selby, though, continues his dominance at the top of the world rankings.
The Englishman pockets £125,000 for his efforts and looks set to consolidate his position at the top of the standings for quite some time to come.
Overall, the International Championship was a decent tournament which conjured up a worthy winner.
The longer format is a bonus on the calendar, albeit unfortunately there were no thrillers to revel in during the weekend.
Daqing once again was a mildly successful host, but there were too many sessions played to a mostly empty arena – with fans reputedly priced out of affordable tickets.
The move from Chengdu in 2015 was supposed to help alleviate this problem but the improvement has been marginal.
For a tournament which markets itself as attempting to become one of the sport’s majors, it doesn’t look great to see rows upon rows of empty seats for important clashes – such was the case during the last eight ties on Thursday especially.
That said, it certainly is an event which garners respect from the players themselves, evident in the increasingly stellar champion’s roster which adds Selby’s name to previous triumphs for Ding, Judd Trump, Ricky Walden and John Higgins.
Next stop during this hectic period is Guangzhou, where a whopping £200,000 is at stake for the inaugural winner of the new invitational China Championship.
More on that tomorrow.