Ding claims Welsh Open title
Ding Junhui made back-to-back centuries on his way to claiming his fifth ranking event victory courtesy of a 9-6 win over Mark Selby in the Welsh Open final.
China's Ding - a former holder of the UK and Masters titles - has his sights set on claiming the World Championship in April after losing to Judd Trump in the last four 10 months ago.
"I will practise very hard. I reached the final last year. I hope I can get to the final this year," said Ding.
"I'm very happy to win the Welsh Open. Mark missed the black to go 3-1 up. Mark is very good. I thank the fans here who have come to support me. It was a nice crowd."
Selby made the highest break of the week in Newport in producing an effort of 145 in the 14th frame, but came up narrowly short in trying to emulate his success in Wales four years ago.
"I played well in patches. I had my chances, but I can't complain..Ding deserved to win," said Selby, who retains his status in the rankings as the game's number one player.
The players resumed for the evening session with Ding holding a 5-3 lead from the afternoon. That was quickly reduced to 5-4 as Selby profited from his opponent missing an early brown to make a fine 73.
Ding contributed 83 in response to lead 6-4 with Selby coming up with a swashbuckling 91 to win the 11th frame after Ding had missed an easy red.
The roles were reversed in the final frame before the mid-session interval as Ding produced a run of 124 after Selby had watched a green slip out.
Ding made it back-to-back centuries with a thrilling break of 130 to lead 8-5 as the players began to discover their very best of form.
With his opponent one frame short of the winning post, Selby's response was magnificent as a run of 145 - the highest break of the tournament - carried him back to only two frames behind with a possible three frames remaining.
With the tension palpable, both men were among the balls in the 15th frame, but it was Ding who kept his composure to claim his first ranking event since 2009.
First session report
Ding Junhui needs four more frames to claim the Welsh Open title after carving out a 5-3 lead over Mark Selby at the Newport Centre.
In a meeting of two former Masters champions, Selby opened the final with a break of 103 and contributed a run of 124 in frame three, but was undone by his inability to capitalise on the other chances that came his way in the other frames of a match in which neither player revelled in their peak form.
Ding - seeking his first Welsh Open title - levelled up at 1-1 courtesy of a knock of 64 before edging a taut fourth frame in which both men had opportunities.
Selby slotted the pink after Ding failed to hole it down a side cushion, but Selby missed a tricky black that Ding holed from distance to restore parity at 2-2.
A run of 40 gave Ding the platform to move 3-2 ahead before a 90 knock made it 4-2 to the Chinese player.
A 66 from Selby saw the Leicester player claw matters back to 4-3, but Ding had the final say of the afternoon in establishing a 5-3 lead despite missing a black off its spot early in the eighth frame as he returned to make a frame-winning 51.