Ding Junhui’s remarkable form shows no sign of abating and the Chinese cuesmith is bound to attract plenty of attention as the 13/2 shot to land the revived Champion of Champions tournament.
A remarkable six-week spell has seen Ding secure a hat-trick of ranking titles, becoming the first player since Stephen Hendry in 1993 to do so.
Victories in the Shanghai Masters, Indian Open and the International Championship have ensured the 26-year-old has eclipsed all-time greats such as Mark Williams and John Higgins – both men have never achieved the same feat.
And on current form he’ll prove difficult to beat when the 16 previous winners of the last 12 month’s ranking events assemble at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.
Barry Hearn’s Matchroom Sport have acted to resurrect the Champion of Champions event and facing the best snooker has to offer is unlikely to faze a player who’s now amassed nine ranking titles in total.
Such success is perhaps unsurprising for the world number three, who emerged on the world stage in 2003 as a precocious 16-year-old.
However, consistency is now starting to supplement the huge breaks known to be a potent aspect of Ding’s arsenal.
A final frame 91 helped dispatch Marco Fu to secure the International Championship having already registered six triple-figure breaks previously.
That kind of form will make life very difficult for pre-tournament favourites such as world number one Neil Robertson (11/2) and Ronnie O’Sullivan (3/1).
The former fell victim to Ding in the quarter-finals of the Indian Open while O’Sullivan’s form has been patchy in the few tournaments he’s played in so far this season.
Arguably, only the elusive World Championship crown is missing from Ding’s glittering CV, a prize the Chinese player is 8/1 to claim when snooker’s finest next attend the Crucible.
However, the riches on offer in Coventry are closer on the horizon and if Ding continues to break at his best it’ll be difficult to stop him adding to the already impressive £257,000 haul he’s racked up in recent weeks.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.