China’s representative Ding Junhui returned to impeccable form in a loosely contested final as he swept aside his 19-year-old compatriot, Yan by a 6-2 scoreline.
Yan sealed progress to his third UK Championship title not without leaving Yan for dead. For the 19-year-old, making it to the semifinals must be a huge feat. However, he would have to say bye to the UK Championship after Junhui brought an end to his fairy tale run.
Ding Junhui, 32 has struggled to pose any threat this term. Indeed, he was taken out in the first round of three events and last won a ranking title over two years ago.
He must have been licking his lips at the thought of playing a relatively inexperienced Yan, and the game turned out to be as tantalizing as what he had thought up in his dreams.
The two-time Championship having taken the first three frames didn’t relinquish his control of the game, pressing on even onto the final frame. Although the resilient Yan pulled two back, those would only count as a consolation.
Ding in a post-match interview with BBC Two admitted it was a tough game. The Chinese professional stressed that he was wary of the threat the teenager pose having taken John Higgins out of the tournament.
He suggested that he had a little concern about a mistake when he was way ahead at 4-1. According to him, that didn’t matter much some minutes after as he tried to forget it and look for another chance he can capitalize on.
He added: “I’m playing my snooker and it’s good to have it back, and I’m getting better.”
Ding, 32 first lifted the trophy as far back as 2005 when Yan Bingtao was a five-year-old. The veteran has lifted an incredible 13 ranking titles with the most recent of them all coming at the World Open in September 2017. In contrast, his teenage opponent hasn’t lifted that many but has made a name for himself as one of the brightest up-and-coming stars of the sport.
Indeed, the teenager won his first ranking title in July, earning spectacular victories over Neil Robertson and John Higgins in previous rounds and is currently world number 20.