Ding pots major title, breaks into big league
Updated: 2005-12-20 06:18
YORK, England: Chinese teenager Ding Junhui confirmed his status as a snooker
superstar in the making when he beat six-time world champion Steve Davis 10-6 to
win the UK Championship here on Sunday.
Ding, just 18 and 30 years Davis' junior, held his nerve in a marathon 16th
frame of their scheduled 19-frame encounter to become the second youngest winner
of the tournament.
The China Open champion also became the first player from outside the British
Isles to win the event in its 28-year history.
"This is the second most important tournament in the world and it gives me
great joy to win here," said Ding.
"It will give me a lot of confidence to go to the world championships in
Sheffield next year. This is a big step."
"I had a great week and if anyone had told me at the start that I would get
this far I would have been happy," said Davis, 48, who was playing in his 100th
career final and aiming for a seventh UK title.
"On the day, Ding was stronger and he played fantastic."
Ding, who had to qualify for the final stages, lost the opening frame of the
final but then went into a 2-1 lead thanks to a 111 break in the third frame.
Davis then levelled at 2-2 which soon became 3-3 when the Englishman hit a
break of 81 in the sixth frame.
But ice-cool Ding snatched the last two frames of the session 81-0 and 80-44
to go into the evening firmly in command in his first appearance in a ranking
final in Britain.
Davis' teenage opponent became only the second 18-year-old in the sport's
history to have won two ranking tournaments.
And there was no denying the China Open champion his latest success; the
world No 62 becoming the lowest ranked player to lift the trophy in the 28 year
history of the event.
En route to a 10-6 win and 70,000-pound first prize Ding boosted his
tournament century tally to nine and to 21 for the season.
After his semi-final defeat to Ding, Stephen Hendry predicted his old rival
might struggle if he did not pep up his scoring game.
And that is how it panned out, though the "Nugget" also failed to convert the
elementary shots as well as the difficult ones.
(China Daily 12/20/2005 page1)