The Ding Saga

00:14:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

The Ding Saga - what will the next chapter be?
The fact that Ding Junhui is a splendid snooker player it's not a secret, actually it's one of snooker's first lessons: you can find his name and picture under the letter S. And after winning no less than three major ranking events in a row, we certainly hope we shall see his name and picture in the World Champion” section.

It all started back in September when Ding broke the curse of performing poorly in his home country. In a very all-Asian Shanghai Masters final, played against his fellow-country Xiao Guodong, Ding was displaying superb snooker for a well-deserved 10-6 victory.

Trophy in hand, smile on his face, emotion all over the place (non-intended rhyme), delirious audience - that was the atmosphere and it proved to be everything that the doctor had prescribed for Ding.

At the beginning of October the saga continued with a brand new ranking event (aka. the Indian Open) taking place in New Delhi. And although many of the players pulled back, it was enough competition to put any Top 16 player into trouble.

However, this was not the case for Ding, as the 26-year-old snooker player reached the final to face the local star (and a pretty tough opponent if I may add), Aditya Mehta and obtain an undisputable 5-0 victory.

And even though it was a one-side snooker affair, the marvellous bouquet of breaks (81, 107, 93 and 100), underlined Ding's commitment and focus to the game.

So with two important victories under his belt, it was really no surprise to see one more added to his collection: the International Championship.

Three in a row
With matches more demanding and with the ultimate test that started in October and ended on November (I'm talking about the quarter-final played against Peter Ebdon), with a very edgy semi-final in which he faced Graeme Dott, who at one point started a very solid and dangerous comeback and with a final that saw all its frames being played - Ding coped beautifully in order to obtain the unthinkable: to become the second player after Stephen Hendry (1993) who’s won three consecutive major ranking tournaments.

This achievement it’s even more important since this is actually Ding's best season and it kind of proves that there's still hope to see a "one-player-dominance" per season. With such a great standard and such talented, ambitious and well-prepared snooker players, we all know that's a lot to ask, but for this humble-little-panda-snooker-player from China it's really happening.

Of course that all eyes are on him now, more than before, and he'll definitely be favourite for winning the UK Championship, although the man himself explained how tired he feels after performing at full speed in the last months.

Going even further, this certainly asks for a reiteration of the fact that he's very, very close to win the big one too. We all know it's just a matter of time and we all know he's one of the most capable ones to do it. So maybe 2014 will be his year.

That being said, I personally find it hard to predict such victories, mainly because snooker players are not robots and even if they win three consecutive tournaments, the Sheffield-thrill it's different.
Even if you win five or six in a row, the problem stays the same - the World Championship it's the ultimate battle, a very distinctive one, the last redoubt, a real test of endurance who many have prevailed, but equally many have not ... just yet.