An emotional Ding Junhui claimed the 2016 Shanghai Masters title earlier today,with a 10-6 win over world champion Mark Selby in a highly entertaining final
This was Dings 12th ranking title and ends a two year ranking title drought for the Chinese number 1 and gained him a small slice of revenge for his Crucible final loss to Selby last March.
Those two seasons had been torrid for Ding,as he seemed to lose all confidence and had fallen so low as to have to qualify for that world championship.Those days can be forgotten now though as what we saw this week was the Ding of old.
Into the match itself and though both showed themselves to be in good stroke early on with a century each,it was Selby who took the lead to the first interval at 3-1.From here though it was all Ding and as his confidence grew he first drew level at 3-3 ,before continuing to dominate,eventually reeling off five in a row to finish the session 6-3 ahead.
If we know anything about Selby though it is that he never gives in and into the evening session he made a storming start,rolling in breaks of 76,102 & 53 without reply to level it up at 6-6.
This made the next frame vitally important and it is a testament to Dings mental strength that he could knock in a superb 97 to edge ahead again at 7-6.
That put him on the front foot again and when they resumed further breaks of 52 & 63 put him on the brink of victory at 9-6.That victory eventually came in the next,despite the best snookering efforts of Selby,as Ding sealed the 10-6 win.
This was really an excellent final and a fitting end to what has been a super week of snooker. The crowds were great and the atmosphere for the final was possibly the best we've had for a final In China.The fact that we only had 32 players at the venue really helped as it didn't have the rushed feeling we get from so many of the flat draw tournaments. It was also nice to not have best of 7's for a change.
As for the players,this was the second great final between these two in a matter of months and if the Selby v Ding rivalry was to become the narrative for the season,we wont have any complaints.