Asia’s most successful ever snooker player, Ding Junhui is a former world number one who in 2019 became only the fifth player win the UK Championship on three or more occasions.
A former Masters champion (2011), Ding reached his first World Championship final in 2016, losing 18-14 to Mark Selby.
Alongside Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins he is one of only three players to have won three ranking titles as a teenager.
He has compiled over 500 century breaks during the course of his professional career, including six maximum breaks.
During the 2013/14 season Ding became only the second player after Stephen Hendry to win five ranking event tournaments during a single season, a feat since bettered by Judd Trump who won six during 2019/20.
China Open Breakthrough
A former world and Asian Under-21 champion, Ding turned professional in 2003, notably defeating world number 16 Joe Perry in the wildcard round at the 2004 Masters before losing to Stephen Lee.
At the 2005 China Open Ding would make his breakthrough by defeating Peter Ebdon, Marco Fu, Ken Doherty and finally Stephen Hendry 9-5 to win his first ranking tournament in Beijing shortly after his 18th birthday. The win was a hugely significant win not only for himself, but for the sport which would subsequently welcome increased investment from and participation in China.
Ding would enjoy further success at the UK Championship at the end of the year, defeating Steve Davis 10-6 to claim his first major title, before claiming his third title before his 20th birthday at the 2006 Northern Ireland Trophy.
At the 2007 Masters Ding would become the youngest player to make a televised 147 break at the Masters, going on to reach the final before losing to Ronnie O’Sullivan.
In 2009 he claimed his second UK Championship title with a 10-8 success against John Higgins, before going on to claim his first Masters title in London just over a year later, winning the first all-Asian final against Marco Fu 10-4.
It would however be the 2013/14 campaign during which Ding would hit new heights as he claimed a record-equalling five ranking event titles, including three in his native China, which would contribute to him ultimately becoming world number one for the first time in December 2014.
Following a relatively lean period for Ding which saw him fall out of the world’s top 16 prior to the 2016 World Championship, the Chinese star would return to form in style by successfully becoming the first Asian player to progress to the Crucible final, despite having had to come through qualifying.
During his semi-final against Alan McManus he became the first player to compile seven century breaks during a single World Championship match, before losing to Mark Selby in the title match.
Ding would gain a measure of revenge over Selby at the Shanghai Masters later in the same year, as well as winning the 6-Red World Championship in Thailand for the first time with an 8-7 victory against Stuart Bingham.
Third UK, 6-Red Glory
In 2019 Ding ended a run of over two years without a ranking title by claiming his third UK Championship with a 10-6 victory against Stephen Maguire in York. Victory against Ronnie O’Sullivan in the last 16 represented O’Sullivan’s first defeat in the competition since 2016 and the title would also see Ding return to the world’s top 16.
He again reached the final of the event in 2019 – a run that included a notable 6-0 whitewash of O’Sullivan at the quarter-final stage – but this time would come up short in the final as Mark Allen won nine of he last 10 frames to score a 10-6 victory.
Further silverware would come in March 2023, however, as he defeated Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 8-6 to win the 6-Red World Championship for the second time in his career in Thailand.
Away from the baize Ding lives in Sheffield and is married to Apple, with whom he has had a baby girl in August 2018.
WST Ranking Event Titles (14)
- 2019/20: UK Championship
- 2017/18: World Open
- 2016/17: Shanghai Masters
- 2013/14: Shanghai Masters, Indian Open, International Championship, German Masters, China Open
- 2012/13: Players Tour Championship Finals
- 2011/12: Welsh Open
- 2009/10: UK Championship
- 2006/07: Northern Ireland Trophy
- 2005/06: UK Championship
- 2004/05: China Open
WST Minor-Ranking Event Titles (4)
- 2015/16: Haining Open
- 2014/15: Yixing Open
- 2012/13: Scottish Open
- 2010/11: Players Tour Championship – Event 5
Professional Non-Ranking Event Titles (5)
- 2022/23: 6-Red World Championship
- 2016/17: 6-Red World Championship
- 2011/12: Championship League
- 2010/11: Masters
- 2008/09: Jiangsu Classic