Ding ends Mehta's magical run

Chinese sensation posts facile win over 27-year-old Indian to claim title in inaugural edition
Last Updated 18 October 2013, 19:48 IST

Chinese sensation Ding Junhui dashed the dreams of giant-killer Aditya Mehta, handing the Indian ace a snooker lesson in authoritative fashion to wear the Indian Open World Ranking Snooker Tournament crown here on Friday.

After becoming the first Indian to compete in the final of a ranking event that raised the hopes of a fairytale finish to the inaugural bash, Mehta was reduced to a mere spectator in the title clash as a potting spectacle unfolded in front of an appreciative audience.

Raising his level several notches up that fans in Europe and China witness quite often, the 26-year-old unleashed his full range in his own inimitable style, flattening Mehta 5-0 (76 (52)-36, 87 (81)-0, 107 (107)-0, 93 (93)-1, 116 (100)-1) in around two hours to capture his second straight ranking title after triumphing in Shanghai Masters last month.
“He was just too good for me today,” said Mehta. “He played like a machine and when he is on song, nobody can stop him.”

Mehta, who accounted for two world champions -- Peter Ebdon and Mark Williams -- and entered the final as a dark horse after scalping World No 5 Stephen Maguire 4-3 in the semifinals earlier in the day, appeared calm and composed at the start of the title clash.

After making two small visits of one point each where he failed to find position for colours, the Mumbaikar scored a break of 30 points as the buzz of another upset began to pick up pace. But he missed a red to the top right pocket and very soon sold a red to Ding, who then found his bearing and just kept moving on from there.

He smashed a clearance of 52 points to take a 1-0 lead. Thereafter it was only one-way traffic as the Chinese, who trains with Mehta at the Star Academy in Sheffield, just kept building breaks after breaks in stunning fashion.

Interlaced between simple pots were some incredible long ones and stunning shot-making from acute angles as the packed house lapped every bit of his brilliance.

If that was not enough, his cue positioning and safety play was exceptional, seizing even the minutest of opportunities. He fired a break of 81 in the second frame and then stepped up in the third, uncorking a majestic 107-point effort.

Completely in command, Ding, tipped for greatness by many legends, left his rival wondering what to do when he hit a 93-pointer to break for the interval with a 4-0 lead.

The 20-minute break did nothing to suppress Ding’s momentum, and the Chinese, in fact, came out with his ammunition further loaded up. Mehta, beginning to the feel the fatigue after playing two marathoners in less than a day, missed a black pot that left the ball hanging at the jaw.

Ding struck a red in the gap between the black and cushion before resuming his machine-like work, assessing the table instantly and potting everything to complete an even 100 clearance in the final frame and drew claps even from his opponent.

Results: Final: Ding Junhui (Chn) bt Aditya Mehta (Ind) 5-0 (76 (52)-36, 87 (81)-0, 107 (107)-0, 93 (93)-1, 116 (100)-1); Semifinals: Ding Junhui (Chn) bt Robbie Williams (Eng) 4-1 (111 (68) -0, 90 (59) -11, 146 (142) -0, 0-87 (87), 76 (64) -28); Aditya bt Stephen Maguire (Sco) 4-3 (84-0, 137 (81) -0, 132 (132) -0, 0-72 (68), 10-53 (45), 6-67 (61), 67-45).

(Published 18 October 2013, 19:46 IST)

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