Asia’s most successful snooker player of all time, Ding Junhui earned a piece of snooker history in 2013/14 as he became the only player other than Stephen Hendry in 1990/91 to win five world ranking titles in a single season.
The first trophy of Ding’s quintet came at the Shanghai Masters when he beat Xiao Guodong 10-6 in the first ever ranking final between two Chinese players. It was also the first ranking title Ding had won in China since 2005.
He went on to win the first ever ranking event staged in India, thrashing Aditya Mehta 5-0 in the final of the Indian Open in New Delhi. And the hat-trick was completed at the International Championship in Chengdu as Ding edged out Marco Fu 10-9 in the final, to become the first player to win three consecutive ranking titles since Hendry.
The new year brought more success for Ding as, in February 2014, he beat Judd Trump 9-5 in the final of the German Masters in Berlin. On to the Welsh Open and he reached the final again, though this time he was no match for Ronnie O’Sullivan, losing 9-3. However Ding was not to be denied in his quest for a fifth crown, and at the China Open in Beijing he saw off Neil Robertson 10-5.
However, the season ended in disappointment for Ding as his bid for the title he craves most, the World Championship, ended at the first hurdle as he suffered a shock 10-9 first round defeat against Michael Wasley.
At last year’s Champion of Champions, Ding was handed a tough group draw and though he saw off Barry Hawkins in the group semi-final he lost 6-5 to Ronnie O’Sullivan in the group final.