• China Open

Ding equals Hendry record with victory in China

ESPN staff
April 6, 2014
Ding Junhui first lifted the China Open in 2005 © Getty Images

Ding Junhui equalled Stephen Hendry's record of winning five ranking titles in a season after beating Neil Robertson 10-5 to triumph at the China Open.

Hendry achieved the feat back in the 1991-92 campaign, and now with Ding adding another ranking event win to his collection will head into the world championship at the Crucible in under two weeks' time as one of the favourites.

Ding picked up the £85,000 top prize with a commanding performance over defending champion Robertson. He went 2-0 ahead thanks to breaks of 87 and 61 and clinched the third frame on the black before the Australian hit back.

However, Ding claimed the next three frames - including visits of 119 and 59 - to move 6-1 up and pull clear of Robertson. The world No.1 made his first century of the tournament to make it 6-2, meaning he will need seven centuries in Sheffield to achieve one hundred three-figure breaks in a single season.

Despite a limited fightback from Robertson, further breaks of 104 and a 66 in the 15th frame helped Ding reach the record-equalling milestone.

"Neil was tenacious, especially during the second session," Ding told worldsnooker.com. "I spent a lot of energy to restrict his performance during the first session and tried my best to score whenever I got the chance. I tried to win the frames in one visit and played good safety. I tried very hard and it paid off to take a 7-2 lead, and that made the second session relatively easy.

"I have played well since the Shanghai Masters last year and I'm not feeling that much pressure. In a final you will always face the best players in the world and you will know their game well. You will expect to play against experienced players so I was not as relaxed as previous matches.

"I can't tell my feelings now about winning five ranking titles this season. With so many wins, my mindset is very different than before. I'm getting more and more experienced, playing many finals, especially playing Ronnie O'Sullivan in Welsh Open final. I think I learned a lot from that match. I hope there will be more finals to come."

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