Shanghai Masters: Ding Junhui beats fellow Chinese Xiao Guodong
Last Updated: September 22, 2013 6:31pm
Ding Junhui: won the seventh title of his distinguished career
Ding Junhui saw off Xiao Guodong 10-6 to win the Shanghai Masters in snooker's first ever all-Chinese ranking final.
The growth of the sport in Asia has been electrifying, with four ranking events this season in China alone and a host of players emerging.
This is the first time two of the Chinese stars have gone all the way in a ranking event, though, and it was the more established Ding who prevailed to win his seventh title - and his second on home soil, following the 2005 China Open.
Xiao, who had never previously been beyond the quarter-finals of a ranking event, had promised after his semi-final win over Michael Holt: "I'm going to lift the trophy".
However, he fell 2-0 behind as Ding made a break of 78 in the second frame.
The underdog levelled the match at 2-2 and then 3-3 but Ding reeled off three in a row, sparked by a 126, to lead 6-3 after the first session.
He again came on strong after Xiao won the first frame of the evening session, meaning Xiao would need to win all six after the second interval.
He took the first two to give himself a glimmer of hope and led 45-7 in the next, but Ding came back with a clearance of 71 to win frame and match.
"Before the final I knew I needed to build an early lead, and I had to keep my safety strong to force my opponent to give me chances," Ding told World Snooker's official website.
"I built a three-frame lead in the afternoon session because Xiao's safety was not as good as mine. But he managed to play relaxed and open frames in the evening so he did pull some frames back, after I had reached nine.
"I'm just happy that I managed to win my 10th frame with a solid break."