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Page last updated at 00:10 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

Ding Junhui beats John Higgins in UK Championship final

Ding Junhui

Ding wins UK Championship

Ding Junhui defeated world champion John Higgins 10-8 to win the UK Championship after a hard-fought final.

The 14th seed from China battled back from 7-6 behind to repeat his 2005 success in the same tournament.

It was a cagey affair with neither player taking a two-frame lead until more than six hours had been played.

The turning point came at 7-7 when Higgins missed a simple brown on frame ball to allow Ding to edge ahead before pressing on to take the title.

Higgins, the 1998 and 2000 winner, appeared jaded from his epic 9-8 semi-final victory over Ronnie O'Sullivan and made a string of uncharacteristic errors.

Ding, 22, played a cautious match but maintained a consistent level of play and capitalised on the Scot's mistakes to secure a victory which moved him up to sixth in the world rankings.

"It's been a crazy week," he said. "I can't believe it. It's brilliant. I am concentrating more. I had some bad shot selections but I was telling myself not to be angry."


Higgins was left ruing his "awful" mistake on the pivotal brown, but paid tribute to his opponent.

"It was such a tough match," he said. "Ding's safety play was great - I was trying to keep him safe - every time I was putting him in trouble, he was putting me in trouble. Well done to him."

As well as the winner's cheque for £100,000, Ding also takes home his body weight of 69 kg (10st 12lb) in pies after a promotion from tournament sponsor Pukka Pies.

The standard was high in the opening session, with some flawless safety play and five breaks over 60.

Ding edged ahead 2-1 with knocks of 81 and 69 but Higgins won a 57-minute frame to level at 3-3.

Ding cleared brilliantly to lead again and an 80 from the world champion ensured another tense finish.

Resuming for the evening session at 4-4, Ding took a scrappy opening frame after Higgins fluffed a straight black.

A miscue by Ding on a simple red handed Higgins an opening in the next frame and the Scot responded with a run of 42, before holding on to level things at 5-5.

John Higgins
Higgins was looking for more UK glory after winning in 1998 and 2000

Ding moved ahead once again with a knock of 50, but a simple missed red in the next frame opened the door for Higgins, who rattled in a break of 91 to make in 6-6 at the mid-session interval.

Higgins continued where he left off and took the lead for the first time in the match at 7-6.

The Scot had the first opening in the 14th frame, only for a missed blue to cost him dearly as Ding put together a 74 break.

The 15th frame was typical of the match, a scrappy affair with neither player willing to take risks and errors aplenty. Higgins fluked the final red but missed a simple brown on frame ball. Ding potted the last four balls to move within two frames of the title.

The next was another topsy-turvy affair with Higgins slotting a 49 break before Ding fought back to claim the frame on the pink.

Higgins responded with a superb 115 break but Ding put together a match-winning 75 to clinch his first ranking title since 2006.

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see also
UK Championship 2009 - full results
05 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Higgins sees off O'Sullivan surge
12 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Ding beats Maguire to reach final
11 Dec 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan & Higgins reach semis
10 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Ding & Maguire reach semi-finals
09 Dec 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan & Higgins both advance
08 Dec 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan delight at Hearn role
08 Dec 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan cruises past Stevens
07 Dec 09 |  Snooker
'Tortured' Hendry defeats Davis
06 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Murphy surges into second round
06 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Hearn confirmed as snooker chief
17 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker

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