Ricky Walden
Ricky Walden, who had never won a match at the Crucible until this year's Betfair World Championship, beat Michael White 13-6 to earn a semi-final with Barry Hawkins.

 

Walden has won two ranking titles, both in China, but had rarely produced his best snooker in the major domestic events, other than a run to the last four of the UK Championship two years ago. The 30-year-old from Chester will take on Hawkins in the biggest match of both of their careers so far, with the winner to face Ronnie O'Sullivan or Judd Trump in the final.

 

Walden led 6-2 after the first session and won the first two frames today with a top break of 63. Welsh 21-year-old White, who was aiming to become the first Crucible debutant to reach the semis since Andy Hicks in 1995, pulled one back with a run of 100, only for Walden to go 9-3 up with a 104.

 

White then launched an impressive fightback with 75 and 63 to win the next two frames, and when he cleared from yellow to pink to snatch frame 15, he was back in the match at 9-6. But Walden took the last frame of the second session with a run of 65, and on the resumption tonight he looked by far the stronger player. Breaks of 50 and 60 helped him win the three frames he needed.

 

"I'm overjoyed with the result, it's been a good week so far and I'm thrilled to be in the semis," said Walden. "You can see Michael's got loads of ability when he gets in amongst the balls and he put me through it at the end, so I had to dig out a few frames.

 

"I always back my game. I practise hard and work hard and do the right things and then when I turn up at a tournament I expect to go all the way pretty much every time. It just doesn't seem to happen as much as I want it to.

 

"Barry is a very good friend of mine and it's going to be a very tough game. We're both in the same position really, we've both had similar seasons and it's going to be the biggest achievement so far for whoever progresses to the final. It'll be a really tough and tense match I think."

White said: "From 9-3 down I had a bit of a spell where I felt good and pulled it back to 9-6. The last frame in the afternoon and the first frame tonight were massive because if I'd have won them then it goes 9-8 and I think then it would be 50-50

 

"Beating Mark Williams and Dechawat Poomjaeng was brilliant, I really enjoyed it and can't wait to come back. I felt pretty relaxed and focussed most of the way through but wasn't quite there when playing Ricky."