Hong Kong Masters Preview

Ding Captures PTC Crown

Ding Junhui beat Jamie Jones 4-1 in the final to win Star Xing Pai Players Tour Championship event five at the World Snooker Academy.

China’s Ding triumphed in Sheffield, where he lives during the snooker season, to become the seventh different winner in seven events in the PTC series so far this term.

Ding’s victory will shoot him from 65th place into the top 24 of the Order of Merit, but he is not eligible to qualify for the grand finals in March because he missed the first four events in Sheffield due to a problem with his visa, and players must compete in at least three of the six to meet the criteria.

Nonetheless, the £10,000 top prize will give a welcome boost to his bank balance and the 2,000 world ranking points will push him up several places from his current position of eighth.

Once again the series showed the strength in depth on the professional circuit as 22-year-old Jones, the World No 68 from Neath, beat several opponents ranked well above him and fueled the suggestion that he could be a successor to Welsh stars such as Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens.

Ding, a winner of four ranking events and the current Pukka Pies UK Champion, came from 24-70 down to win the first frame, eventually clearing from brown to black. The Chinese potter added the second with a break of 60.

A run of 50 made it 3-0 and he knocked in a 58 in frame four but Jones won it with a 35 clearance. Ding wrapped up victory in a fragmented fifth frame with 32, 24 and 22.

“Jamie missed some easy balls and left me a lot of chances. Overall I played well today and felt good,” said Ding. “In a best of seven anything can happen so I had to concentrate.

“It’s good for my ranking to make sure I stay in the top eight, and winning gives me confidence for the tournaments coming up.”

Star Xing Pai Players Tour Championship event six runs from October 14 to 17 at the same venue.