LONDON, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- China's top player Ding Junhui believes Mark Selby is the man to beat as he looks ahead to the defence of his Welsh Open title next week.
Ding got the better of Selby in last year's final at the Newport Center, winning 9-6 to claim his fifth ranking title.
But while Ding has won just one Players Tour Championship event this season, Selby has been snooker's dominant force in recent weeks, winning the UK Championship and the Masters.
"Mark is always very hard to beat because he never gives up and doesn't make many mistakes," the 25-year-old Ding told World Snooker website on Thursday.
"In the Final of last year I had to go all out on every shot. Mark is the best player at the moment but I would be happy to play him again, it's good to go up against the best."
Ding, a trail-blazer for snooker in Asia, received support from Chinese fans in Newport last year and hopes he'll get plenty of backing again this time.
"It's great to go to different places and see the Chinese fans supporting me," he said. "It means a lot to me to that they come to the venues to watch me play and cheer me on."
Ding's opening match also gets the world ranking tournament underway, on February 11. The event runs until the following Sunday, February 17.
Selby, Judd Trump, John Higgins and local favourites Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens will be among those battling for the ? 50,000 top prize.