Any snooker fan will be familiar with Stephen Hendry and Jimmy “The Whirlwind” White, two of the greatest players in history. Well, add Chinese player Ding Junhui to that list.
With a win on Sunday in the German Masters in Berlin, Ding has become the first player to win four ranking tournaments in a season since Hendry in the 1990-91. After winning three in a row at the end of last year, this win is the 10th ranking title of his career, putting him in 6th place on the all-time list – level with White.
After trailing Judd Trump 3-1 and 4-2, and then pulling back to 4-4 at the break, Ding – who is still only 26 – dominated the rest of the match to win 9-5.
It’s an incredible achievement, but the introverted Ding is still almost unrecognizable outside China, except among hardcore snooker fans. Contrast that to Li Na, who is now one of the world’s most well-known global sports stars.
The season runs from June to May, culminating in the World Championship, so while Ding actually won four ranking titles in 2013, only three of those were during the current season. Here’s the full list of his ranking wins:
- 2005 – (2) China Open, UK Championship
- 2006 - Northern Ireland Trophy
- 2009 – UK Championship
- 2012 – Welsh Open
- 2013 – (4) Players Tour Championship Finals, Shanghai Masters, Indian Open, International Championship
- 2014 – German Masters