Robert Milkins edged out Marco Fu 6-5 at the International Championship to set up a semi-final meeting with Ricky Walden.
Gloucester’s Milkins is through to the fifth ranking semi-final of his career and has the chance to reach his first final when he battles Walden over 17 frames in Chengdu on Friday. The winner of the title on Sunday will receive £125,000, the biggest prize on offer outside the UK.
A high quality contest saw the first six frames shared, Milkins making breaks of 60, 56 and 52 while Fu knocked in 51, 94 and 134. Hong Kong’s Fu, who lost in the final last year, edged ahead with a run of 74, before Milkins nicked the eighth frame then made a 59 to lead 5-4. Fu’s 61 helped force the decider, but it went the way of Milkins thanks to a clinical 70.
“I was very pleased with the last frame, to win it with a good break,” said 38-year-old Milkins. “It was a good match all the way through, and always close. Marco has played brilliant snooker against me many times. He never gives in and keeps trying until the last ball.
“I’ve got to break my losing streak in semi-finals now. I have to forget about the fact that it’s a semi and just try to play my game. It will be a long match so there’s time to settle down. Hopefully I’ll come out on top.”
Walden, who has won both of his two previous world ranking titles in China, cruised into the semis with a 6-1 defeat of Jamie Burnett.
Chester’s Walden won the first three frames with a top break of 100. Burnett pulled one back, but Walden was unstoppable after the interval as he fired in runs of 76, 132 and 111 to reach his first ranking semi-final of the season.
“I’m really pleased with that performance,” said former Shanghai Masters and Wuxi Classic winner Walden. “Jamie made a few mistakes and I punished him with heavy scoring. I’m looking forward to the semi-finals and hopefully I can keep up the same standard.”