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Ding Junhui

Ding Junhui was born on April 1, 1987, in Yixing, Jiangsu, China.

Ding began playing snooker at age nine. In 2002, aged 15, he became the youngest winner of the IBSF World Under-21 Championship. The next year (2003), Ding turned professional aged just 16. His first major professional success came in 2005 when he won the China Open beating Stephen Hendry by 9-5 in the final, just two days after turning 18. He then went on to win the 2005 UK Championship, this time beating Steve Davis by 10-6 in the final. Doing so he became the first player from outside Great Britain and Ireland to win this title.

Ding is still a young man but has already won 14 major ranking titles, including three UK Championships in 2005, 2009, and 2019.
He has also twice reached the final of the Masters, winning once in 2011.
Representing China at the Asian Games, Ding has won five gold medals in individual and team events.
In the 2013/2014 season, Ding tied Stephen Hendry’s record of winning five ranking titles in a single season.
In 2016, he became the first Asian player to reach the final of the World Championship. The same year, he won his first Six-red World Championship.

Ding has compiled more than competitive 500 century breaks, including six maximum breaks.

Ding is an attacking player. His biggest strength is his outstanding break-building and cue ball control.

Ding’s successes inspired the young generation in China and he can be credited for the extraordinary “snooker boom” in his country.

The 2019/20 was an indifferent season for Ding in general. Only three times did he fail to reach the last 32 in ranking events, but then often the last 16 round proved to be the stumbling block. Ding lost in the last 128 only twice, both times in the Home Nations series. The highlight of Ding’s season was to win the 2019 UK Championship. He beat Stephen Maguire by 10-6 in the Final. This is an event he has now won three times. The World Championship continues to elude him; he lost in the last 16 to Ronnie O’Sullivan, the eventual champion.

The 2020/21 season was a poor one for Ding. Like many Chinese players, he struggled with the covid-19 situation. The lockdowns and isolation were hard on everyone, but even more so for the non-UK players as they were unable to see their families for a very long period. Despite this Ding only lost once in the last 128 (at the 2021bGibraltar Open) and reached the quarter-finals on four occasions. He was narrowly beaten in the last 32 at the Crucible (10-9) by Stuart Bingham who went on to reach the semi-finals.

The 2021/22 season wasn’t great for Ding either. After losing at the crucible in 2021, he went back to China. Quite understandably, after months away from his family, he chose to spend quality time with his wife and daughter. He only returned to competitive snooker in November 2021 for the English Open. He struggled for most of the season, not going past the last 16 until mid-March when he reached the semi-finals at the 2022 Turkish Masters. Ding needed to qualify for the 2022 Crucible, which he did. But he narrowly lost in the last 32 to Kyren Wilson (10-8).

The 2022/23 season was far better than the previous one and saw Dng return to the winner’s circle. He won the 2023 6-reds World Championship in Thailand beating Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the final. Earlier in the season Ding had reached the Final of the prestigious and very lucrative 2022 UK Championship, losing by 1-7 to an inspired Mark Allen. Those good results ensured that he was able to play in the 2023 Tour Championship, where he reached the semi-finals and made sure to be seeded at the 2023 World Championship, where he lost in the last 32 to Hossein Vafaei. Ding finished the season ranked 17th in the World.

Ding didn’t have a great 2023/24 season despite competing in two finals. He was runner-up at the 2023 UK Championship, losing to Ronnie O’Sullivan, and lost to Judd Trump in the final of the 2024 World Open. But other than that he never progressed beyond the quarter-finals in any event, with a number or early exits as well.

Ding’s record:

China Open: 2005, 2014
UK Championship: 2005, 2009, 2019
Northern Ireland Trophy: 2006
The Masters: 2011
Welsh Open: 2012
Players Tour Championship Finals: 2013
Shanghai Masters: 2013, 2016
Indian Open: 2013
International Championship: 2013
German Masters: 2014
World Open: 2017
6-reds World Championship: 2023

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