DING Junhui is gunning to make it a hat-trick of UK Championship crowns in York over the next week.
The Sheffield-based Chinese cueman kicks off his UK campaign against Sussex professional Mark Davis today at the Barbican Centre.
And the 24-year-old hopes he will be the last man standing when the tournament, concludes on Sunday December 11.
Ding famously won the UK crown back in December 2005 with an impressive 10-6 victory over Steve Davis, the six-times UK winner and six-times world champion.
Three years later Ding claimed his second UK crown by beating four-time world champion John Higgins 10-8 with a fine display in the showcase final at the Telford International Centre.
“I like playing at the UK Championship,” said Ding. “It’s one of my favourite tournaments.”
He added: “It’s going to be very tough to win this year’s tournament, but I will give it my best shot.”
Davis, the world No 17, sits just 11 places below Ding in the current rankings and knows a first round victory would yield a mouth-watering last 16 clash with either triple Crucible winner Ronnie O’Sullivan or namesake Steve Davis.