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Last Updated: Friday, 11 February, 2005, 18:04 GMT
Teenager Ding targets world crown
By Saj Chowdhury
BBC Sport

Ding Junhui
China's Ding Junhui has told BBC Sport he is confident of becoming one of the best players in the world.

"I've got a good chance of becoming a great player. I may even become world champion, one day," he said, ahead of Monday's Masters game against Marco Fu.

The teenager, making his second Wembley appearance, said he was looking forward to facing the Hong Kong star.

"I really enjoyed my time last year - it's a fantastic event. I can't wait to play Marco, it should be a good match."

The 17-year-old first came to prominence in 2002 when he won the Asian under-21 and senior titles, and clinched the World Under-21 Championship in Latvia.

Ding became professional in 2003 and raised a few eyebrows when he was handed a wildcard for the Masters later in the season.

He then created a bigger surprise when he beat seeded player Joe Perry in the first round.

The teenager's progress up the rankings ladder has been slow but steady and he currently occupies the world number 57 spot.

There's a keen interest in snooker in China
Ding Junhui

His best performance this season came at the British Open, when he reached the third round.

Despite being a considerable distance away from top 16 status, he is treated like a sporting superstar back in his home country.

"Television and the internet have run a lot of stories about me, because there's a keen interest in snooker in China," he added.

Those fans will have the chance to have a first-hand look at Ding and the rest of snooker's finest at the China Open in Beijing next month.

"I'm very excited about the prospect of playing back home. But to tell you the truth, I'm not really thinking about it yet because there's a lot of snooker to be played before then."




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