The first snooker table Ding Junhui played on was out in the street where he grew up. His father and his friends would have games on it and young Ding one day had a go himself.

Some sort of talent was spotted and he spent his youth travelling round China getting the best coaching.

Clearly promising, at 14 he was invited to play in the China Open as a wildcard. He was beaten 5-2 by Mark Selby, who remarked afterwards that we would most likely be seeing him again.

Well, the boy prodigy is now a man and has become a great player, as he proved again in beating Selby 9-6 to win the Welsh Open title in Newport tonight.

Ding led 5-3 and from 6-5 made back-to-back centuries. Selby countered with a 145 total clearance, the highest break of the tournament, but Ding held on in a nervy final frame to secure his fifth world ranking title.

He has done it the hard way. His opponents in his five successful ranking finals have been Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and now Selby.

Ding is one of the best break-builders around. He has an almost innate knowledge of how to manoeuvre the cue ball, where to leave it, how to dominate frames.

He is still only 24. Last season he came very close to reaching the world final and will be a major threat at the Crucible again this year.

Ding is also a young man a long way from home. The demands of the season dictate that he must spend large portions of time in the UK, but he naturally likes to get back to China as often as he can.

He seems settled now, though. He has a girlfriend, Apple, and as he proved in his post match interview can speak better English than is widely believed.

This season had not been that special for him until tonight but there is plenty more snooker to come and Ding has proved again that he belongs in that elite group of players who will threaten for any title he contests.


Anonymous said...


what red was it that EVERYONE knew ding was going for?


at least you had a chuckle.

well done Ding for winning.

well done Selby for getting to the final and beating Ronnie on the way.

oliver said...

Ding "can speak better English than is widely believed"??

He makes Capello look like Charles Dickens.

His English is even worse than my Mandarin: at least when I order Kung Po chicken the guy on the other end of the phone knows what I'm on about.

I felt sorry both for Ding and Rob Walker. Not knocking Ding - totally up to him how much English he feels he needs to learn - but at least make sure the poor guy has a translator on hand for occasions like this.

jamie brannon said...

You can never fail to enjoy Ding composing breaks, his close ball control is a joy to watch.

If he adds the world title to his resume then he joins the all-time greats for me.

Not many players can say they've won four 'big 3' events if he does.

jamie brannon said...

His English is better though, and it made for a funny interview the fact that it was far from perfect, although not in a laugHing at him way.

In addition, the scenes afterwards underlined how much of a national icon he is. I've never snooker so desperately sought after a triumph. I thought we might might get a baize invasion!

A very enjoyable Welsh Open aside from the semis.

Anonymous said...

Ding - he looks even more miserable when he wins!

(Just a joke)

Anonymous said...

Great match and great to see Ding smiling, I think he's really enjoying his snooker at the moment.

jamie brannon said...

That was meant to say a player so sought after.

Anonymous said...

so david, are you not going to comment on telestratorgate?

Dave H said...

The line was put up by the BBC Wales commentators although the red they identified was the one myself and Mike thought he'd go for


Hi David, Consistant play from Ding.

Anonymous said...

Surely World Snooker should have a translate on the books with all the Chinese players on the tour? We don't need anymore announcements from Ding that Trump "has lots of girlfriends in China...and boyfriends too".

Anonymous said...

Have to agree that the comment about ding's english is being very generous to him.

Anonymous said...

Does it make you proud or ashamed to be English when you see English people commenting on Ding's ability to speak our language?

Anonymous said...

Dings 124 to go 7-5 up was one of the best centuries I've seen in a while. What a player, great stuff. Granted, Selby made a beautiful 145 later on, but his style has not got him enough ranking titles, fans or status. Yes ok, number 1 status but that's it. Oh, and 'more boring than Ebdon' status .. I nearly forgot.

Anonymous said...

Does it make you proud or ashamed to be English when you see English people commenting on Ding's ability to speak our language?

11:26 AM


Anonymous said...

Most English people cant speak proper English. Awri?

Anonymous said...

People slag off Indian call centres, but has anyone ever been put through to a British one? A well known company boasted it only used British call centres, and when I got put through to one it turned out it was based in Scotland. It was unintelligible, it could have been on Mars for all the good it was.

Anonymous said...

How come Hendry is easy to listen to, but Higgins and Dott are totally inconprehenible?

Anonymous said...


its either reginal accents(scotlands a big place too, just like england).


your ears were blocked when listening to Higgins/Dott

Anonymous said...

Higgins and Dott are from Glasgow, whereas Hendry is from a better part of Scotland I think.

Anonymous said...

945, he is now, but he "isnt" from a better part, if you know where he was brought up.

ive stayed in both places ;) and moreso, back then also (through work)