DING Junhui equalled one of Stephen Hendry’s greatest records in Beijing on Sunday evening in winning the China Open.
The 27-year-old beat world No1 and defending champion Neil Robertson 10-5 to claim a fifth ranking title of the season in his biggest home tournament.
And that saw world No3 Ding not only pick up the £85,000 winner’s cheque but make some history ahead of this month’s World Championships.
Ding had already won the Shanghai Masters, Indian Open, International Championship and German Masters since September.
He has conquered nerves in China, where he is worshipped by millions of fans, to win three ranking titles on home soil taking his haul to 11.
This puts him out on his own in sixth place on the overall list ahead of Jimmy White and behind Hendry, Steve Davis, Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams.
And Ding can now focus on winning the one major prize to elude him – the blue-riband tournament at the Crucible in Sheffield.
Scot Hendry, a seven-time world champion, won the Grand Prix, Asian Open, Dubai Classic, UK Championship and British Open titles 23 years ago.
Ding made breaks of 87, 61, 119, 59, 104, 67 and 66 as he took a grip in the first session to lead 7-2 and then never let Robertson off the hook.
Ding said: “Neil was tenacious especially during the second session. I spent a lot of energy to restrict his performance and score whenever I get the chance.
“It paid off to take a 7-2 lead and it has made the second session easier. I have played better since the Shanghai Masters last year and not feeling that much pressure.
“You face the best players in the world in these finals and you know their games well. It is hard to express now how I feel about a fifth ranking title this season.
“With so many wins my mindset is very different than before. I'm getting more and more experienced playing in many finals, even losing to Ronnie O'Sullivan in the Welsh Open final. I think I learned a lot from that match, and hope there are more finals to come.”
Robertson said: “The start of the match was really important for me today, but Ding made few mistakes and after that I wasn’t able to go with him. Maybe it was a match too far, I didn’t have a lot left in the tank.”