Ding Junhui has won the 2017 World Open after a comfortable 10-3 victory over Kyren Wilson on Sunday in China.
The 30 year-old dominated the contest to capture his 13th ranking event crown as he moves up to second in the world rankings list behind Mark Selby.
It was a year almost to the day since Ding collected his last ranking title when he emerged victorious in the Shanghai Masters, and this success represents a record sixth crown on home soil.
Bar a couple of brief moments, especially when he was 3-1 down to compatriot Li Hang in the quarter-finals, Ding has looked a composed figure throughout the tournament and glory looked very possible from early on in the week.
The former world number one won the last four frames of that last eight tie with the aid of a brace of tons and came through a tight encounter with Luca Brecel in a controlled semi-final display.
It was expected that a close encounter with Wilson was to come in the final showdown, especially after the latter’s incredible performance against Mark Williams and subsequent nail-biting deciding frame defeat of Mark Allen.
But the Englishman ran on empty over the longer distance, and once he fell a few frames behind he never really looked likely to conjure up a comeback.
Wilson did manage to win the last two frames of the opening session with runs of 104 and 66 to trail by only 6-3, so perhaps wished that he could have played on at that point having finally discovered some form.
Yet, Ding returned in confident fashion for the evening session, reeling off runs of 67, 69, and 71 to move to within the brink of victory.
Wilson had a few opportunities to take the affair to another mid-session interval but Ding sunk a superb long pink before a routine pot on the black delighted his legion of adoring fans.
The triumph earns the former UK and Masters champion a cool £150,000 but more importantly gets him back into the winners’ circle.
It was a disappointing end for his opponent, with the Kettering cueist hoping to grab a second ranking title to add to his maiden win two years ago in Shanghai, but Wilson once again showed during this event why he’s a rising force in the game.
Ding has been one of the primary forces for more than a decade and continues to notch up the wins that will add to his legacy.
Of course, the World Championship is the one that still eludes him but that conversation is for another time.
For now, Ding is back in business and success at this early stage of the season could be the springboard to further moments of silverware throughout the remainder of this campaign.
All in all, the World Open was an entertaining enough event that provided plenty of high-quality matches and a deserving champion.
Questions remain about the venue, in particular its location, and one wonders what crowd levels would have been like if Ding hadn’t gone as far as he did, with noticeably low spectator numbers in several of the encounters that didn’t feature their favourite son.
However, Ding never truly looked like suffering a premature exit at any stage and there was plenty to cheer about as he raised the trophy aloft in Yushan.
Fully deserved it, thanks David for this fantastic blog. Absolutely loved it. Keep up the good work!
Thank you for the support, much appreciated.