Ding Junhui held his nerve to secure a second Six Red World Championship with an 8-6 victory over home favourite Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in Bangkok.
The Chinese sporting icon lifted the trophy in 2016 with an 8-7 win over Stuart Bingham, but dominated the 14th frame before a vociferous home crown to avoid being forced to another final-frame decider.
Ding joins Mark Davis (2012, 2013) and Stephen Maguire (2014, 2019) as a multiple winner of the elite invitational event and also earns a cheque for £100,000.
He defeated Maguire, world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, 2015 world champion Bingham and German Masters finalist Tom Ford in his run to the showpiece match, but had to find some of his best form to repel the threat of Un-Nooh, winner of the event in 2015.
It his first major title victory since lifting his third UK title in 2019 with a 10-6 win over Maguire.
It is also ideal timing as the former Master winner bids to become China’s first world champion next month at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
Ding had sped 2-0 clear with opening breaks of 72 and 71, but his opponent rose to the challenge superbly to restore parity at 2-2 at the Thammasat University Convention Centre in Pathum Thani.
Another Ding surge saw him win three frames for a 5-2 advantage only for the spirited Un-Nooh to close 5-4 behind.
A key moment of a taut contest saw Thepchaiya escape from a snooker in the 11th frame by hitting yellow only to see the object ball plant itself onto the pink and land in the right middle.
Ding produced an nerveless clearance to pinch the frame on the black for a 7-4 lead. It was a cruel blow from which the former Shoot Out winner could not recover.
Despite extending the final by snaring the next two frames, with Ding somehow missing a mid-range pink leading 17-0 in the 13th frame, a bad miss by Un-Nooh on a long black hanging over a top pocket proved to be fatal as he tried to force the final frame.
With tension mounting, Ding regrouped to finally see out the match with all the balls ideally positioned for the winning thrust.
A red down a side rail and black to left middle was enough to prompt the concession from his opponent in completing a merited victory as he thumped the table in delight.
- Ding Junhui 8-6 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
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