Snooker: Ding keeps cool to capture Masters title

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The Independent Online

China's Ding Junhui was victorious in the first all-Asian major snooker final as he brushed aside Marco Fu, of Hong Kong, to win the Masters here last night.

Ding, who beat former world champions Mark Williams and Graeme Dott to reach the final, swept into a 6-2 lead after the first session with breaks of 120, 74, 61, 57 and 60.

Fu threatened a comeback in the evening session by reducing the deficit to two frames but Ding coolly blasted a 94 and 83 on his way to clinching four straight frames to complete a 10-4 win.

An estimated worldwide television audience of over 100 million viewers watched the victory, which brought Ding revenge for his defeat to Fu in last year's Asian Games and a winner's cheque for £150,000.

Ding admitted that the huge TV audience in the Far East meant the win tasted even sweeter. "The Masters is a big tournament. It will be big news in China," said the two-time UK Champion.

Ding has so far failed to make an impact in the World Championships but he is not concerned that yesterday's win will increase the pressure on him at the Crucible this year. He said: "I'm not worrying about the World Championships. This will give me more confidence and I will try hard this year but it is so hard."