Ding Junhui has secured the second Six Red World Championship title of his career by defeating Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 8-6 in Pathum Thani, Thailand.
No stranger to close-fought contests, Ding’s first win at the Six Red World Championship came 7 years ago when he won the 2016 final against Stuart Bingham 8-7. This recent victory marks his first win on the World Snooker Tour since the 2019 UK Championship and could represent a significant turning point in the trajectory of his season.
Ding’s latest triumph earned him the top prize of 4.2 million Baht, which is equivalent to just over £100,000. He also takes home the prestigious trophy that was bestowed upon the event by the King of Thailand. This win is a huge boost to Ding’s confidence as he heads into the final stages of the season. Currently ranked 24th in the world, he still needs to compete in the World Championship qualifying round to secure a spot at the Crucible.
While Ding celebrated a momentous victory, Un-Nooh, the local hero, faced a disappointing end to his tournament. Having outshined Hossein Vafaei to reach the final, Un-Nooh was aiming for his second tournament win in the Six Red World Championship but in the end, he had to settle for runner-up.
In the opening frame of the final, Ding quickly took the initiative by scoring a superb break of 72. He extended his lead by crafting a break of 71 in the second frame. Un-Nooh responded by taking the third frame with a scrappy break of 51. With the score at 2-1, Ding eventually knocked the pink into the group to launch a prolonged safety battle on the colors in the fourth frame. But Un-Nooh’s excellent strategic performance in the fourth frame allowed him to take the win and level the score at 2-2.
With the game in the balance, Ding found his form and surged into the lead, winning three frames back to back to register a 5-2 lead. Spurred on by the home crowd, Un-Nooh took the eighth frame with a break of 34 to stay in touch at 5-3. Un-Nooh’s fans cheered every ball potted by Un-Nooh, who eventually managed to pull back within a single frame of Ding at 5-4.
Ding continued to dominate the table and in the 11th frame, Un-Nooh accidentally potted the pink while trying to escape a snooker, allowing Ding to clear the colors and move ahead 7-4. Unperturbed, Un-Nooh rallied back to win the next two frames and make it 7-6. However, Ding held his nerve, even in the face of overwhelming support for Un-Nooh by the home crowd, to win the 14th frame and secure a well-deserved victory.
Although the final could have gone either way, Un-Nooh’s unforced errors gave his opponent far too many opportunities to put points on the board. The Six Red World Championship is a fast-moving, short-framed event and so even the smallest mistake can quickly spell disaster for a player.
As Ding said afterward, ‘The Six Red is quite fun for players,’ continuing that he is always ‘happy to come here.’ Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Ding commented ‘I just need to keep my head still and do everything right. I will go back to practice and work hard for the end of the season.
Ding thoroughly deserved the victory and if he can maintain his concentration and repeat his performance in upcoming matches he should have a great season ahead of him.