Ding Junhui passed a major test of character in holding off Liang Wenbo at the Crucible today.
In a match that kept tens of millions of television viewers back in China transfixed, Ding stepped it up when it mattered most to win 10-8 in their Betfred.com World Championship first round clash.
Ding didn’t pot a ball for three frames as Liang powered from 7-4 down to lead 8-7. However, hitting the front for the first time in the match brought its own pressure and he started to falter.
On the other hand, Ding grew strong, winning two frames on the spin with breaks of 111 and 91 before making 63 to clinch victory.
And what an important victory it could be for him. In fact, it could turn his entire career around.
He arrived at the Crucible having won only four matches in ranking events all season and not guaranteed to stay in the top 16.
He may relax a little now as he has proved to everyone – and most importantly himself – that he can handle the pressure.
And that makes him very dangerous for the rest of the tournament.