Ricky Walden breezed past Marcus Campbell 6-1 to book his place in final of the first ranking event of the season, the Wuxi Classic.

 

By Matt Rich

 

Walden signalled his intent from the off with a break of 90 in the opening frame and went into the break 3-1 up. The 2008 Shanghai Masters winner continued where he had left off after the interval with a 64 to take the fifth frame and another 90 earned him the sixth. Scotland's Campbell, playing in his first ranking event last-four match, had no answer for Walden's slick potting and a 15 was all he could muster in the seventh frame as Walden went on to clinch victory.

 

The result sets up what should be an exciting and extremely competitive final for Walden against Stuart Bingham tomorrow. The two will battle it out for the £75,000 winnings and the honour of being the first winner of the Wuxi Classic as a ranking event. Both have won one ranking title before and both will be determined to lift another trophy.

 

"It definitely wasn't easy," said Walden. "I'm pleased with the way I played and I'm pleased with the result, but it was a tough match and I had to be on my game to beat Marcus today. I knew it was going to be like that from the start.

 

"I was pleased, 3-1 up at the interval, it's always nice to be there and Marcus could've nicked one and I could have lost one, so I was pleased with 3-1. I managed to build on that after the break which is pleasing."

 

About the final with Bingham, he said: "Yeah it should be a good final, we've both got similar games. We both like to get in amongst the balls and score heavy. Stuart's a great player and I'm thoroughly looking forward to getting out there and testing myself against him tomorrow, hopefully I can play well."

 

About the final being best of 19 Walden added: "I think it's about how you start off the match. We're both positive players and I don't think there's any particular advantage on paper about who's going to win the match. It's just going to be who settles down the most and who pots more balls on the day. It's going to be a tough day for both of us I think."

 

Campbell was rueful of missing out on a first ranking final: "I had a chance early-doors to try and impose myself in it, but I didn't feel comfortable out there at all. I thought the table was playing a little bit heavy, unlike last night when I thought it was really nice for the first four or five frames. I'm really disappointed with how I played, I didn't test Ricky at all there. I just didn't feel comfortable at all and the only thing I can maybe put it down to is nerves.

 

"I didn't feel as though I was getting the cue through, I wasn't seeing any of the shots, it's horrible when that happens. It happens now and again in certain matches, but playing to get into your first ranking event final, it must have been some sort of nerves.

 

"In fairness to him, he potted some really good balls, made a couple of good breaks, so well done to him. It's the first time I've been in a position like that, ever. I'm learning all the time, mixing with these guys, and I actually feel part of the tour now.

 

"As I said last night, I actually feel like I can win a tournament now within myself and I do believe it. It is a big learning curve and it's a big jump in class as well to win a ranking event. If you'd said at the start of the week that I'd get to the semi-finals, I'm disappointed now, but I would've taken it. It's just nice to come to a ranking event and actually win a few matches because last year I was getting sick of playing the top players and I was playing really well and I was losing by the odd frame, it's demoralising sometimes. But at least this week I've managed to come here, show I've got a lot of ability and it's just a shame that I fell short just before the final."