Ding rules in Wales
Ding Junhui landed his first ranking title of the season with a 9-6 victory over Mark Selby in the final of the 888 Welsh Open.
Last Updated: 19/02/12 10:00pm
Ding Junhui landed his first ranking title of the season with a 9-6 victory over Mark Selby in the final of the 888 Welsh Open in Newport.
The 24-year-old from China put a largely disappointing campaign behind him in impressive fashion to pocket the £30,000 first prize on Sunday night.
Ding, a World Championship semi-finalist last season, trailed 2-1 early on but hit back to see off 'The Jester from Leicester'.
He said afterwards: "Mark missed a chance to go 3-1 up but he's very good and I'm very happy to win."
Asked if the victory gives him hope ahead of the World Championship, Ding added: "I'll practice very hard. I got to the semi-finals last year and hope to do better this year."
Selby, who had seen off Ronnie O'Sullivan in the semi-final, registered two century breaks in the first three frames - worth 103 and 124 respectively - as he went 2-1 in front.
Ding missed a testing pink in the fourth frame to hand his opponent the chance to go three in front but although Selby despatched the pink he failed to follow with the black.
He left Ding with a tough shot for the frame but he made it to level the scores.
From there on Ding took control of the remainder of the afternoon session, winning three of the next four frames to establish a 5-3 lead.
When the players resumed Selby reduced the deficit to 5-4 with a break of 73, after Ding had missed a brown.
The Chinese player immediately restored his two-frame lead with a break of 83 but then missed a red over a pocket and Selby took full advantage with a 91.
Ding's first century of the tournament, a 124, meant it was 7-5 at the mid-session interval.
The Chinese player maintained the momentum after the break, with a knock of 130 moving him to within a frame of victory at 8-5.
Selby was not finished though, with a total clearance of 145 giving him the highest break of the tournament - and a £1,000 prize to accompany it.
The final frame was a cagey affair but Ding prevailed to land the fifth ranking title of his career.
Selby told the post-match interviews, televised on British Eurosport: "I missed too many balls. I had my chances but every credit to Ding - he deserves it.
"I probably let him off the hook in the first session, I should have been in front but was 5-3 behind.
"But I was one ball away from going out in the first round (to Sam Baird), so every game after that is a bonus. I'm delighted to get to the final."
On the consolation of the highest break, the 28-year-old added: "I was over the moon and was told it was £1,000 - I was expecting it to be about £10,000!"