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Ding Junhui beats Marco Fu 10-4 to win Masters

Ding Junhui

Ding snatches pivotal 11th frame

By Mark Ashenden
BBC Sport at Wembley

China's Ding Junhui secured his first Masters title with a 10-4 victory over Marco Fu in a historic all-Asian final.

Ding started brilliantly with breaks of 120 and 74 and extended his lead to 6-2, with Fu's best break 80.

Hong Kong's Fu sparkled in the evening to pull back two frames but then lost an agonising 11th, when Ding laid a miraculous snooker, to trail 7-4.

Fu was left shell-shocked as Ding rattled in 94, 83 and 85 to win and make up for his 2007 runner-up spot.

It was revenge for the 23-year-old who lost to Fu at last November's Asian Games in Guangzhou, and was a slightly easier triumph over his arch rival than the 10-9 epic in the first round at the 2008 world championship.

The last time Ding was in a Masters final was an emotional 10-3 demolition by Ronnie O'Sullivan four years ago and he did his best to banish those memories by flying out of the blocks in front of a noisy Wembley crowd on Sunday.

606: DEBATE
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There were no sign of nerves, considering the reported 100 million people watching in China, as the man who made his Masters debut in 2004 with a wildcard entry as a teenager storming ahead thanks to knocks of 120 and 74 to open up a two-frame advantage.

But Fu, who bounced back from trailing 4-1 to beat Mark Allen in the semi-finals, clawed his way back with an 80 and had chances in an enthralling fourth frame, before losing his way on the brown as a relieved Ding secured a 3-1 lead.

Sloppy errors started to creep their way into the game and it was Ding who edged ahead 4-1, while Fu hung on with a nerveless run of 82 with the aid of a fluked blue.

The high standard of potting in the opening four frames slipped away and with Fu wasting more chances to get back into the encounter, Ding surged ahead to 6-2 to leave himself going into the evening session needing four frames for victory.

But all those expecting this to be a routine triumph for the player hunting his fifth major title were shaken to the core after the interval as Fu, a Masters semi-finalist in 2008, roared back to reduce the deficit by two frames with a top knock of 69.

It's quite extraordinary that he has not done well there

Marco Fu on Ding Junhui's failure to shine at the world championship

Fu will be kicking himself though after throwing away the 11th frame to waste a glorious opportunity to get within one at 6-5. Instead it was 7-4.

The 33-year-old opened up with a 39, only to see his opponent hit back, but then had Ding in all sorts of trouble with a snooker behind the yellow.

Five attempts later, Fu led by two points and had the frame in his grasp and amazingly soon found himself snookered behind the pink after a sensational safety shot from Ding.

The cueball flew in and with Fu squirming in his chair, Ding stayed calm to steal it.

Fu looked stunned and he had to stay rooted in his throne as Ding knocked in a 94, 83 and 85 to claim his third successive frame and secure his Masters crown to become only the third overseas player to do so.

Having been the youngest player to perform at this tournament in 2004, Ding will revel in being Masters champion.

But his conquered adversary can also reflect proudly on a stunning effort this week as passionate fans back home cheered on their two stars. Fu believes it is only a matter of time before Ding wins the world championship.

"He has the skills to win the Worlds but maybe in the past he has just come up against tough opponents," he said.

"It's quite extraordinary that he has not done well there but it is a tough tournament. He is still very young. Give him a few more years and he'll do it."

Ding knows he has more work to do if he is to triumph at Sheffield in longer matches over a fortnight.

"I'm not worrying about the World Championship. This will give me more confidence and I will try hard this year but it is so hard," he said.

"I think I need more experience in the long game. My short game is okay but my long game is different. I need to concentrate more."

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see also
Ding drives on baize revolution
17 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Masters scores and match schedule
16 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Fu to face Ding in Masters final
15 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Allen sets up semi-final with Fu
14 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Ding and Cope set up Masters semi
13 Jan 11 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan suffers Masters defeat
11 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Higgins dumped out by dogged Dott
10 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Williams hurdles pink in Ding defeat
10 Jan 11 |  Snooker
King beats Masters champion Selby
09 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Ask the snooker experts
14 Jan 11 |  Snooker


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