Ken Doherty

John Higgins Ken Doherty Mark Selby Jimmy White
DOB: 17 September 1969

Lives: Ranelagh, Dublin

Turned pro: 1990

Last Season World Snooker Tour Prize money: £42,830

Highest tournament break: 145 – Players Championship 2004

Ranking Tournament victories: 6 - Welsh Open 1993, 2001; World Championship 1997; Malta Grand Prix 2000; Thailand Masters 2001; Malta Cup 2006

The 2010/11 season was a disappointing one for Doherty as he failed to progress beyond the last 32 of any full ranking event.

He did make it to the semi-finals of the third European Players Tour Championship event but was edged out 4-3 by eventual winner Marcus Campbell.

Doherty's biggest let down was failing to qualify for the World Championship. He led Jimmy Robertson 6-3 in the final qualifying round but lost 10-6. The Irishman finished the season at No 29 in the world rankings.

The previous season had been far more impressive for Doherty as he won his opening match in every ranking event and got to the quarter-finals of the Roewe Shanghai Masters.

That followed a terrible 2008/09 campaign in which he won only two matches and tumbled out of the top 16. "I was almost in tears here last year because I didn't know where my game was going," he said "I was confused about how I was playing. I didn't want to throw it in, but I could have been forced off the tour if I'd kept losing matches. I was on the floor with no confidence.

"I think it says a lot about my character that I've turned things around. There's still a long way to go, but I'm getting there. I take a lot of inspiration from what Steve Davis is doing."

His last ranking tournament success was the 2006 Malta Cup. Wins over Joe Swail, Stuart Bingham, Stephen Maguire and Graeme Dott put Doherty through to the final at the luxurious Hilton Conference Centre in Portomaso. In a see-saw final, he led John Higgins 5-2 but then lost six frames in succession and looked sure to lose 9-5 until Higgins missed a simple red at a crucial point of the 14th frame. Seizing his chance, Doherty stormed back to 8-8 then snatched a memorable victory with a tremendous break of 63 in the deciding frame.

"This is my most important tournament win since the (1997) World Championship," he said. "I never doubted my ability and that I would win a title again, but I'm not getting any younger and the longer time goes on the harder it gets."

The crowning glory of his career to date came in 1997 when he ended Stephen Hendry's five-year unbeaten stint at the Crucible with an 18-12 victory in the final. He became the first player to win the world title at junior, amateur and professional level as well as the only overseas player other than Cliff Thorburn to lift the famous trophy.

He was welcomed home by some 250,000 fans on the streets of Dublin, voted Ireland's Sports Personality of the Year and given the chance to parade the trophy at Old Trafford, home of his beloved Manchester United.

Doherty was back in the Crucible final the following year but lost 18-12 to Higgins. His third final was in 2003 when he made a remarkable comeback against Paul Hunter in the semis, winning 17-16 from 15-9 down, only to go down 18-16 to Mark Williams.

Doherty is married to Sarah, an Australian psychiatrist, and they have a son called Christian, born in December 2007. His hobbies include visiting art galleries and watching opera.

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