Ding Junhui has warned world number one Judd Trump he is out to end his 13-month wait for a snooker title at the German Masters before their blockbuster quarter-final clash on Friday (LIVE and exclusive on Eurosport at 2pm).
China's number one Ding – who hit two centuries in a 5-0 whitewash of Dominic Dale in the last 16 – last lifted a trophy when an impressive 10-6 win over Stephen Maguire saw him secure a third UK Championship in December 2019.
Ding was forced to look on as Trump lifted six titles last year, Ronnie O'Sullivan claimed a sixth world title, Mark Selby equalled Stephen Hendry's record of 11 straight victories in ranking event finals and Neil Robertson became the sport's new UK champion.
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With his compatriot Yan Bingtao becoming Masters champion at the age of 20 with a 10-8 win over John Higgins earlier this month, Ding feels it is time he proved a point to the wider world that he is not finished with the winners' rostrum.
“I haven’t won since the UK Championship last season," said Ding, who won the 2014 German Masters with a 9-5 win over Trump.
I am looking forward to winning another one. I’m watching Judd, Neil, Ronnie and Selby keep winning all of the tournaments. I want to join them. I’m not that bad!
Despite snooker's growing popularity, China has yet to produce a world champion with Ding losing 18-14 to Selby in the 2016 Crucible final.
He feels the success of Yan at the Masters will give his country's younger players more belief to emulate that victory in the years ahead.
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“He (Yan Bingtao) deserved to win. He tried so hard," said the world number nine. "He played great and gave everything for the Masters. Every time his opponent missed he took chances and won some very important frames.
It is good for the young players. They are starting to believe [they can win] tournaments, even the very big ones. Yan Bingtao has also now got a lot of confidence to win more tournaments.
"He is only very young, just over 20 years old. He has ten or fifteen years to win a lot of tournaments."
Friday January 29
- Judd Trump v Ding Junhui
- Jordan Brown v Barry Hawkins
- Joe O'Connor v Tom Ford
- Stuart Bingham v Jack Lisowski