Junhui Ding

Junhui Ding

Chinese snooker player
Date of Birth: 01.04.1987
Country: China

Biography of Ding Junhui

Ding Junhui is a Chinese snooker player who is known as one of the youngest winners of ranking tournaments in the history of snooker. He started playing snooker at the age of nine, joining his father and his friends for a game out of boredom. Ding trained for eight hours a day and in 2003, he became the top-ranked player in China. He gained international recognition in 2002 when he won the Asian Under-21 Championship, the Asian Championship, and the World Under-21 Championship. Unfortunately, he was unable to achieve significant results in 2003 as both the Asian Championships were canceled due to the outbreak of the Atypical Pneumonia virus. However, he reached the semifinals of the World Under-21 Championship and was awarded a Main Tour card by the World Snooker Association, turning professional in September 2003.

Junhui Ding

In February 2004, Ding was awarded a wildcard entry into the Masters tournament in London, where he defeated Joe Perry, who was ranked #16 at the time, in the first round. However, he lost to experienced top player Stephen Lee in the next round, despite leading 5-2 at one point. Ding's impressive playing impressed many commentators, who immediately dubbed him a future world champion. In March 2005, Ding celebrated his 18th birthday by reaching the final of the China Open in Beijing, eliminating several well-known players from the top 16, such as Peter Ebdon, Marco Fu, and Ken Doherty. In the final, he faced seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry, whom he defeated 9-5, sensationally winning his first ranking tournament. In December 2005, Ding defeated another group of top 16 players, including Jimmy White, Paul Hunter, and Joe Perry, on his way to the final of another ranking tournament, the UK Championship. This time, he faced snooker legend Steve Davis, whom he defeated 10-6, becoming the first player from outside Britain or Ireland to win this tournament. As a result of this victory, his world ranking increased from #60 (#62 at the beginning of the season) to #31. After the end of the 2005/06 season, he occupied the #27 position in the official world rankings for the next year. Being in the top 32 meant that Ding no longer needed to qualify for various tournaments and only needed to win one match to qualify for the World Championship in Sheffield.

On August 19, 2006, Ding defeated Stephen Lee 6-1 and reached the final of the Northern Ireland Trophy, where he faced Ronnie O'Sullivan the next day. He defeated O'Sullivan 9-6, winning his third ranking title and becoming only the second player in history, after John Higgins, to achieve this success before the age of 20. This victory raised his interim position in the world rankings to #5. On January 14, 2007, Ding made his first maximum break in his professional career. This happened in the opening match of the Masters tournament against Anthony Hamilton. It was only the second maximum break in the history of the tournament and the first since 1984. In addition, Ding became the youngest player to make a televised 147 break, surpassing the previous record held by Ronnie O'Sullivan. However, Ding's performance in the final did not go well. Ronnie took a confident revenge and did not allow the young talent to defeat him as he did in August. A nearly one-sided defeat of 10-3 and Ronnie's complete dominance in the match. Ding was devastated at the end of the final and even decided to quit the match when the score was 9-3, but Ronnie, knowing the consequences of such a decision, comforted Ding and persuaded him to finish the last frame. It should be noted that Ding's form deteriorated significantly after this event, and he lost in the opening matches in Wales, Malta, the World Championship, and even in China. In the World Championship, he had to face Ronnie in the first round and had no chance - 10-2, and Ronnie told Ding that he was progressing and gaining experience. "I am confident that if Ding tries hard, he will be a multiple world champion." In addition, Ronnie accused Worldsnooker of deliberately making such a seeding so that he would play against Ding in the first round.

In the 2007-08 season, Ding Junhui slowly began to regain his form and reached several semi-finals and quarter-finals, although he failed to defend his title as the winner of the Northern Ireland Trophy. In the World Championship, the Chinese player defeated Marco Fu 10-9 in a thrilling match in the round of 16. He then faced experienced Stephen Hendry, to whom Ding surprisingly lost 7-13 almost without a fight. As a result, he dropped to the 11th position in the world rankings, having previously been ninth. Ding Junhui has won several ranking tournaments, including the China Open in 2005, the UK Championship in 2005, and the Northern Ireland Trophy in 2006. He also won the non-ranking tournament Jiangsu Classic in 2008.