Ding Junhui, the prodigiously talented 26-year old Chinese and World No 4, broke many an Indian heart with a clinical 5-0 demolition of Aditya Mehta in the final of the 300,000 pounds inaugural Indian Open World Snooker ranking tournament here.
Junhui, who had breaks of 52, 81, 107, 93 and 100 in the five frames, pocketed the winner’s cheque for 50,000 pounds and 5,000 ranking points, besides 2,000 pounds for the highest break in the final while Mumbai’s Mehta, ranked 72nd, went home richer by 25,000 pounds apart from pocketing 4,000 points.
In the process, Junhui, the Asian Games gold medallist in 2002 and 2006, became the first player since Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2003 to win back-to-back ranking tournaments, having annexed the Shanghai Masters title last month.
“I wasn’t at my best earlier this season and so I tried to do better. I had watched Aditya before and knew he had a very good safety play. Only in the first frame I made mistakes. “I feel sorry for Aditya as he was playing in his first final, but I am sure he will improve and play better,” said Ding.
Despite the drubbing, Mehta, winner of the Asian Championship and gold medallist at the World Games, can take heart from the fact that he created snooker history by becoming the first Indian to play in a professional ranking tournament final, an achievement that could be a predecessor to many more.
“I can’t even imagine that level of snooker. I learnt another lesson today.
We practice at the same academy in Sheffield and I hope to learn from him (Ding),” said Mehta. “I don’t see anyone playing better than him. His cue-ball control, break building, tactics were simply outstanding. He was in a league of his own.”