Ding at the 2015 German Masters
1 April 1987 |
Yixing, Jiangsu, China
|9 (as of 9 July 2016)|
|Highest break||147 (6 times)|
|Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games|
Ding Junhui (Chinese: 丁俊晖; pinyin: Dīng Jùnhuī; born 1 April 1987) is a Chinese professional snooker player and the most successful Asian player in the history of the sport. He began playing snooker at age 9, and rose to international prominence in 2002 after winning the Asian Under-21 Championship, the Asian Championship, and becoming the youngest winner of the IBSF World Under-21 Championship at age 15.
Ding turned professional in 2003, at the age of 16. He achieved his first major professional successes in 2005 when he won the China Open and the UK Championship. After his win at the 2006 Northern Ireland Trophy, Ding became the third player after Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Higgins to win three ranking titles before their 20th birthday. He continued to play, winning a total of 11 major ranking titles, the most recent being the 2014 China Open. In the 2013/2014 season, Ding equalled Stephen Hendry's record of winning five ranking titles in a single season. He became the first Asian player to reach the final of the World Championship, in 2016.
Known as a prolific break-builder, Ding has compiled more than 400 century breaks in his career including six maximum breaks in professional play. He remains the only Asian player to be ranked world number one, a feat he first achieved in 2014 to become the 11th player to reach the top spot. Away from snooker, Ding enrolled at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2006 to study Business Administration and Management. He is a resident of England during the snooker season and practises at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield.
- 1 Career
- 2 Achievements
- 3 In popular culture
- 4 Performance and rankings timeline
- 5 Career finals
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 Sources
- 9 External links
Born in Yixing, Jiangsu in China, Ding began playing snooker at 8 years old after his father, a pool enthusiast, took him along to practice with a professional at a local pool hall. When his father went for a toilet break, Ding took the cue and played with the professional. Upon his father's return, Ding had won the game. Following that moment, Ding's parents supported his playing skills. At age 9, his father took him to the training centre of the Chinese national snooker team near Shanghai, and persuaded his mother to sell their home and grocery business in order for Ding to continue playing snooker as a career. The family then moved to Dongguan, Guangdong, and Ding stopped his education at age 11 to practice snooker for 8 hours each day.
Ding rose to international prominence in 2002, at age 15, when he won the Asian Under-21 Championship and the Asian Championship and became the youngest ever winner of the IBSF World Under-21 Championship. He was unable to progress much in 2003 as both Asian tournaments were cancelled because of the 2002–03 SARS virus outbreak, but Ding reached the semi-finals of the IBSF World Under-21 Championship and was awarded a concession to play on the main snooker tour by the WPBSA which enabled him to turn professional in September 2003. In the same year, Ding became the number one ranked player in China.
In February 2004, Ding was awarded a wildcard entry to the Masters held in London where, in the wildcard round, he beat then world number 16 Joe Perry, before narrowly losing 5–6 in the first round to Stephen Lee after holding a 5–2 lead over him. His performance favourably impressed many commentators, who rated him a likely future World Champion.
In April 2005, he celebrated his 18th birthday by reaching the final of the China Open in Beijing, along the way defeating world top-16 ranked players Peter Ebdon, Marco Fu and Ken Doherty. In the final, Ding beat then world number 3 Stephen Hendry by 9–5 to score his first ranking tournament win. The match was watched by 110 million people on China's national sports channel CCTV-5, the largest television audience recorded for a snooker match. In December 2005, Ding beat Jimmy White, Paul Hunter and Joe Perry to reach the final of the UK Championship. In the final, he beat Steve Davis by 10–6 to become the first player from outside the UK to win the tournament. Following this victory, Ding's provisional world ranking rose from 62 at the start of the season to 60, followed by a rise to number 31. At the end of the season, he was ranked number 27.
At the 2006 China Open, Ding lost 6–2 in the semi-finals to eventual winner Mark Williams. During the Northern Ireland Trophy event, he beat Stephen Lee 6–1 and met Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final where he won 9–6 to claim his third ranking tournament win, the third person ever to do so before their 20th birthday after O'Sullivan and John Higgins. Ding's win in Ireland pushed his provisional ranking up to number 5. In December 2006, Ding won three Gold medals at the 2006 Asian Games, winning the Single, Double and Team Snooker competitions. In the following week, he reached, as the defending champion, the quarter-finals of the 2006 UK Championship, but lost to his practice partner and eventual winner Peter Ebdon, by 9–5.
In January 2007, Ding narrowly defeated Cao Xinlong 5–4 to reach the final of the Chinese National Championship in Yixing, Jiangsu province, his home town. In the final, he defeated Xiao Guodong in the final by 6–2 to become the national champion once again. On 14 January, Ding made a 147 break in his first round match at the Masters against Anthony Hamilton, the first maximum break made at the competition since 1984 by Kirk Stevens. The break made Ding the youngest player to make a televised 147, a record previously held by Ronnie O'Sullivan, and the first Chinese player to make a televised maximum. Ding faced O'Sullivan at the final to become the second-youngest player to reach a Masters final. After Ding won the first two frames, O'Sullivan went on to dominate the match. Along with the boisterous and hostile nature of the London crowd, Ding left the table in tears during the twelfth frame, trailing 8–3 in the best of 19 frames contest. Ding appeared resigned to defeat, taking little time to consider his shot selection, and shook hands with O'Sullivan after the frame, after which O'Sullivan consoled an upset Ding and the two walked arm in arm to the backstage area. As it was the last frame before the mid-session interval, it was unsure if Ding conceded the match. O'Sullivan won the match in the first frame after the interval; Ding later said he thought the match was a "best of 17".
Ding was defeated in the next two consecutive tournaments in the first round, losing 5–2 to Stephen Maguire in the Malta Cup and 5–1 to Jamie Cope in the Welsh Open. In March 2007, Ding qualified for the televised stages of the 2007 World Championship for the first time after beating Mark Davis in the final qualifying round. However, Ding's losing streak in ranking tournaments continued with a 5–3 loss to Barry Hawkins in the first round of the China Open and a 10–2 loss against O'Sullivan at the World Championship, but he still ended the season ranked at number 9.
The following season was consistent, reaching the last 16 of all but one ranking event, but he failed to reach a single semi-final, causing him to slip down two places, to number 11 in the world rankings. At the Crucible he managed to reach the second round for the first time, beating Marco Fu 10–9 in a high quality match, but he was unable to progress further, going down 13–7 to Stephen Hendry. During the Premier League Snooker against Stephen Hendry, Ding set a record for the most unanswered points (495) in any professional snooker tournament. The record was surpassed in 2014 by Ronnie O'Sullivan with 556 unanswered points.
However, he started the 2008/2009 season on a high by winning the Jiangsu Classic, beating Mark Selby 6–5 in the final. On 16 December, in his second round match against John Higgins at the UK Championship, Ding scored a maximum 147 break in the third frame.
Ding began the season by reaching the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters and the final of the Grand Prix where he defeated Matthew Stevens 5–4 in the first round, Stephen Maguire 5–1 in the second round, Peter Ebdon 5–2 in the quarter-finals, and Mark Williams 6–1 in the semi-finals. He lost to Neil Robertson 9–4 in the final.
Ding reached the final of the 2009 UK Championship after defeating Mike Dunn (9–5), Shaun Murphy (9–3), Ali Carter (9–8), and Stephen Maguire (9–5). He went on to defeat John Higgins in the final (10–8) to claim his second UK crown.
After losing against Mark Selby (1–6) at the Masters and Jamie Cope (3–5) at the Welsh Open, Ding returned to form after scoring nine century breaks on his way to the final of the China Open, but he lost to Mark Williams (6–10) despite leading 5–4 at the end of first session. At the World Championship, Ding defeated Stuart Pettman 10–1, but lost 10–13 against Shaun Murphy in the second round.
Ding started the season at the Wuxi Classic, where he lost 8–9 in the final, despite at one point leading 8–2. Ding reached the second round of the Shanghai Masters and the quarter-finals of the World Open, where he lost 1–5 against Jamie Cope and 2–3 against Mark Williams respectively. Ding failed to defend his UK Championship title, when he lost 8–9 against Mark Allen.
Ding reached his second Masters Final in January 2011, after beating Jamie Cope 6–3 in the semi-final. Ding went on to win the Masters for the first time, beating Marco Fu 10–4 in the first ever all-Chinese Masters final.
Ding also had a career best run at the 2011 World Snooker Championship. He beat Jamie Burnett 10–2 in the first round, advancing to the last 16 of the World Championship for the 4th straight year. Facing Stuart Bingham in the second round, he was down 9–12 at one point with the opponent needing just one frame for victory, but Ding made a comeback, winning four straight frames to win 13–12 to reach the quarter-finals of the world championship for the first time in his career. In his quarter-final with Mark Selby, Ding led Selby 10–6 after the first two sessions of the match. Selby built strong momentum by winning the first four frames of the last session to level at 10–10, but Ding eventually held on to win 13–10 to set up a semi-final against Judd Trump. In their semi-final, Ding and Trump were level at 12–12 after the third session. In the last session, Trump was the first to build momentum and led 14–12, but Ding pinched the next three frames with a 138 break to tie Mark King for highest tournament break and a 119 break. Ding lost the next three frames to lose the match by a 15–17 scoreline.
Ding started the season at the Wuxi Classic, where he lost 5–6 against Mark Selby in the semi-finals, and for the first time couldn't reach the final of the tournament. At the World Cup Ding and Liang Wenbo partnered up to represent China. They won the final, 4–2 against Northern Ireland. He then lost in the first round of the Australian Goldfields Open 2–5 against Stuart Bingham. At the second event of the Players Tour Championship Ding reached the final, but lost 0–4 against Judd Trump. Ding was knocked out in the quarter-finals of the 2011 UK Championship by Neil Robertson, 6–2. He was defeated in the Masters by Ronnie O'Sullivan for the third time in his career, losing in the first round 4–6, meaning that he couldn't defend the title he won in 2011. Ding beat Mark Selby in the 2012 Welsh Open to win his fifth ranking tournament and a cheque for £30,000. Ding's form continued in claiming the 2012 Championship League tournament and a place in the 2012 Premier League. Ding reached the semi-finals of the China Open only to be put out by eventual winner Peter Ebdon, 3–6. Ding ended the season by going out in the first round of the World Championship, losing to Ryan Day 10–9 having been in the lead 9–6. After the match Ding criticised the condition of the tables at the event and the attitude of the audience, saying both were "rubbish". He finished the year ranked world number 11, meaning he had dropped 7 places during the season.
Ding could not get past the second round in any of the first six ranking events of the 2012/2013 season to find himself ranked world number 11 in December. However, he won the minor-ranking Scottish Open by defeating Anthony McGill in the final. This signalled an improvement in form for Ding as at the Welsh Open he beat Mark King, Mark Allen and Robert Milkins to reach the semi-finals, where he was edged out 5–6 by Stuart Bingham. At the World Open he was whitewashed 0–5 by John Higgins in the quarter-finals. His title at the Scottish Open formed part of the Players Tour Championship events with Ding finishing sixth on the Order of Merit to qualify for the Finals. At the Finals he made the fifth 147 of his career in the first frame of his quarter-final against Allen and made two further century breaks in a 4–3 win. He cruised past Kurt Maflin 4–0 in the semi-finals before staging a remarkable comeback from 0–3 down in the final against Neil Robertson to take his sixth ranking title with a 4–3 win. Ding made eight century breaks in the 20 frames he won during the tournament, with no other player compiling more than one. However, his poor form in tournaments played in his homeland continued as he was beaten 3–5 by Barry Hawkins in the first round of the China Open. Ding beat veteran Alan McManus 10–5 in the first round of the World Championship and came back from 2–6 down after the first session against Mark King in the second round to lead 9–7 after the next session and went on to win 13–9. Ding came up against Barry Hawkins in the quarter-finals and struggled for consistency throughout the match, losing 7–13. His end of season ranking was world number 10.
Ding lost in the second round of the Wuxi Classic 5–1 to Joe Perry and then at the minor-ranking Bluebell Wood Open he made a rare 146 break in beating Jimmy Robertson in the quarter-finals before losing 4–3 in the semis to Marco Fu. In September, Ding finally produced his best snooker in his homeland by capturing his seventh ranking event title at the Shanghai Masters. The final against Xiao Guodong was the first all-Chinese ranking event final in the history of snooker with Ding making a century and compiling seven further breaks above 50 to win 10–6. Ding then made a minor-ranking event final appearance at the Ruhr Open, losing to Mark Allen 4–1. Following that, Ding played in the first Indian Open, sweeping past Aditya Mehta 5–0 in the final, to become the first player to win back-to-back major-ranking event titles in the same season since Ronnie O'Sullivan in 2003. Ding continued dominating the game in the following major ranking event the International Championship and beat Graeme Dott 9–7 in the semi-finals with an outstanding 63 clearance in the last frame. In an epic final, the second all-Chinese ranking event final in just three ranking events, Ding and Marco Fu compiled 7 century breaks (Ding five and Fu two). Ding rallied from 9–8 down to win the final two frames and became the first player to win three consecutive major ranking events since Stephen Hendry won five consecutively in 1990.
After the hat-trick, Ding reached world number three in the rankings for the first time in his career, before reaching number two just behind Neil Robertson. Ding went on to win two more ranking titles - the German Masters (by beating Judd Trump 9–5 in the final) and the China Open (by beating Robertson 10–5 in the final) to equal Hendry's season record of five wins. He was also the runner-up in the Welsh Open to Ronnie O'Sullivan. However, at the World Championship, Ding suffered one of the biggest shocks in the event's history as world number 75 Michael Wasley defeated him 10–9 in the first round, after Ding had led 6–3 and 9–8. Ding finished the season ranked world number two, and was only prevented from taking the number one spot by Mark Selby winning the World Championship. Ding was fined £5,000 and referred to the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee by the WSL for failing to attend their awards dinner.
Ding suffered a disappointment at the start of the season, as he failed to qualify for the televised stages of the 2014 Wuxi Classic due to a surprise 5–0 defeat to Oliver Brown in the qualifiers. However, Ding then won the Yixing Open, with a 4–2 victory over Michael Holt in the final. At the Shanghai Masters, he was defeated 6–4 by Stuart Bingham in the semi-finals after losing the final four frames of the match. Ronnie O'Sullivan eliminated him 6–4 in the semi-finals of the Champion of Champions.
In the third round of the UK Championship, Ding fought from 5–1 down to send his match against James Cahill to a deciding frame. The run included recovering from needing three snookers in the 10th frame when Cahill left a free ball. However, in the final frame Ding missed a red when on a break of 32 which allowed the world number 100 Cahill a chance to knock Ding out which he took. The loss still guaranteed that Ding became the 11th world number one and first from Asia due to Mark Selby and Neil Robertson also suffering early exits. He held the top spot for a week before Robertson reclaimed it. Ding's poor form continued into 2015 as he was knocked out in the first round in six successive events: 6–3 to Joe Perry at the Masters, 5–4 to Ryan Day at the German Masters, 4–1 to world number 115 Lee Walker at the Welsh Open, 4–3 to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh at the Indian Open, 4–1 to Ricky Walden at the World Grand Prix and 4–1 to Joe Perry at the 2015 Players Championship Grand Final. The run was halted at the China Open as he came past Marcus Campbell and Mark Davis both 5–1 and Mark Williams 5–2 to reach the quarter-finals, where he beat John Higgins 5–4 on the colours. In Ding's second ranking event semi-final of the season he tied the scores at 5–5 after being 5–3 down to world number 56 Gary Wilson, but lost the deciding frame.
In the opening rounds of the World Championship, Ding came back from 4–0 against Mark Davis to win 10–7 and from 5–1 down against John Higgins to win 13–9. He lost the first six frames of his quarter-final match against Judd Trump and was unable to fight back this time as he was beaten 13–4.
Ding lost 5–4 on the final black to Kyren Wilson in the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters. He won the Haining Open courtesy of edging past Ricky Walden 4–3 in the final. It was Ding's first title carrying ranking points in 16 months. However, he couldn't continue his form in to the main ranking events as he was knocked out in the second round of the International Championship and in the first round of the UK Championship to Adam Duffy. After the loss to amateur player Duffy, Ding's press conference lasted less than a minute in which he swore and criticised the conditions at the event. He also failed to qualify for the German Masters and was knocked out in the first round of the Masters to Stuart Bingham.
Ding made the sixth 147 break of his career in the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open against Neil Robertson and also made a 120, but these were the only frames he could win as he was defeated 5–2. At the World Grand Prix, Ding beat Ben Woollaston 4–3, Peter Ebdon 4–0, and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 4–3 to reach his first semi-final of the season against Shaun Murphy, but lost 6–3. In the quarter-finals of the PTC Finals, Ding was defeated 4–2 by Barry Hawkins and he lost 5–1 to Lee Walker in China Open qualifying. It meant that Ding had gone from winning five ranking events two seasons ago to now dropping outside of the world's top 16 and needing to qualify for the World Championship. He did so by winning three matches, conceding just seven frames along the way.He compiled his 400th century break of his career during this run. He beat Martin Gould by 10–8 and Judd Trump by 13–10 in the first and second rounds, respectively. Ding defeated Mark Williams in the quarter-final by 13–3, and Alan McManus in the semi-final by 17–11, during which he set a new record for the highest number of century breaks made by a single player in a World Championship match at the Crucible Theatre with seven. Ding's victory made him the first Asian player to reach the final of the World Championship. Ding made 15 century breaks during the championship one short of the record of 16 set by Stephen Hendry in the 2002 Championship. Ding finished runner-up to Mark Selby losing the final 18-14.
Ding has compiled more than 400 competitive century breaks. He has made six 147 maximum breaks in professional competition. The first, at the 2007 Masters, made him, at the age of 19 years and 7 months, the youngest player to have made a televised 147. The second came at the 2008 UK Championship. The third came in the first round of the FFB Snooker Open in 2011. His fourth maximum came only two days after his third in a 4–1 victory against James Cahill. The fifth maximum he achieved in his quarter-final of the 2013 PTC Finals against Mark Allen. His sixth maximum was made in the quarter final stage of the Welsh Open on 19 February 2016 against Neil Robertson.
He won three back-to-back ranking tournaments in 2013.
In popular culture
A 26-episode cartoon series Dragon Ball No.1 by Beijing-based D5 Studio, based on Ding's growth from a shy boy to a snooker star, was broadcast on TV in 2010.
Performance and rankings timeline
|Rankings[nb 1]||UR[nb 2]||76||62||27||9||11||13||5||4||11||10||2||4||9|
|Riga Masters[nb 3]||Tournament Not Held||MR||A|
|Indian Open||Tournament Not Held||W||1R||NH||A|
|World Open[nb 4]||LQ||LQ||LQ||RR||RR||QF||F||QF||1R||QF||3R||Not Held||2R|
|Paul Hunter Classic[nb 5]||NH||Pro-am Event||Minor-Ranking Event||A|
|Shanghai Masters||Tournament Not Held||2R||1R||QF||2R||1R||1R||W||SF||QF|
|European Open[nb 6]||LQ||LQ||LQ||1R||NR||Tournament Not Held|
|English Open||Tournament Not Held|
|International Championship||Tournament Not Held||2R||W||LQ||2R|
|Irish Open||Tournament Not Held|
|Scottish Open[nb 7]||2R||Tournament Not Held||MR||Not Held|
|German Masters||Tournament Not Held||QF||1R||2R||W||1R||LQ|
|World Grand Prix||Tournament Not Held||NR||SF|
|Gibraltar Open||Tournament Not Held||MR|
|Players Championship[nb 8]||Tournament Not Held||DNQ||2R||W||1R||1R||QF|
|Ranking & variant format tournaments|
|Shoot-Out||Tournament Not Held||Variant Format Event|
|Champion of Champions||Tournament Not Held||QF||SF||A|
|Championship League||Tournament Not Held||A||RR||RR||RR||W||SF||A||A||A|
|Variant format tournaments|
|Six-red World Championship[nb 9]||Tournament Not Held||A||A||A||NH||A||A||A||1R|
|Former ranking tournaments|
|British Open||LQ||3R||Tournament Not Held|
|Irish Masters||LQ||LQ||NH||NR||Tournament Not Held|
|Northern Ireland Trophy||Not Held||NR||W||3R||2R||Tournament Not Held|
|Wuxi Classic[nb 10]||Tournament Not Held||Non-ranking||1R||2R||LQ||Not Held|
|Australian Goldfields Open||Tournament Not Held||1R||2R||WD||A||A||NH|
|Former non-ranking tournaments|
|Northern Ireland Trophy||Not Held||1R||Ranking Event||Tournament Not Held|
|European Open[nb 6]||Ranking Event||SF||Tournament Not Held||R|
|Wuxi Classic[nb 10]||Tournament Not Held||W||F||F||SF||Ranking Event||Not Held|
|Premier League Snooker||A||A||SF||RR||SF||RR||A||RR||F||RR||Tournament Not Held|
|World Grand Prix||Tournament Not Held||1R||Ranking|
|Former variant format tournaments|
|Shoot-Out||Tournament Not Held||1R||1R||1R||A||A||A||RV|
|Performance Table Legend|
|LQ||lost in the qualifying draw||#R||lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
|QF||lost in the quarter-finals|
|SF||lost in the semi-finals||F||lost in the final||W||won the tournament|
|DNQ||did not qualify for the tournament||A||did not participate in the tournament||WD||withdrew from the tournament|
|NH / Not Held||means an event was not held.|
|NR / Non-Ranking Event||means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.|
|R / Ranking Event||means an event is/was a ranking event.|
|RV / Ranking & Variant Format Event||means an event is/was a ranking & variant format event.|
|MR / Minor-Ranking Event||means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.|
|PA / Pro-am Event||means an event is/was a pro-am event.|
|VF / Variant Format Event||means an event is/was a variant format event.|
- From the 2010/2011 season it shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
- New players on the Main Tour don't have a ranking.
- The event was called the Riga Open (2014/2015–2015/2016)
- The event was called the LG Cup (2003/2004), the Grand Prix (2004/2005–2009/2010) and the Haikou World Open (2011/2012–2013/2014)
- The event was called the Grand Prix Fürth (2004/2005) and the Fürth German Open (2005/2006–2006/2007)
- The event was called the Malta Cup (2004/2005–2007/2008)
- The event was called the Players Championship (2003/2004)
- The event was called the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2010/2011–2012/2013) and the Players Championship Grand Final (2013/2014–2015/2016)
- The event was called the Six-red Snooker International (2008/2009) and the Six-red World Grand Prix (2009/2010)
- The event ran under the name Jiangsu Classic (2008/2009–2009/2010)