Chris Wakelin believes he can go all the way to the Indian Open title after beating Nigel Bond 4-1 to reach the quarter-finals in Mumbai.
Rugby’s promising 22-year-old Wakelin had never previously been beyond the last 32 of a ranking event, but is now into the last eight and faces in-form Michael White tonight at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Breaks of 50 and 96 helped him build a 3-1 lead over Bond, and he cleared from yellow to black in frame five for victory.
“It’s a fantastic feeling,” said world number 73 Wakelin, who came through Q School in 2013. “I went out there not worrying about the result, just looking forward to playing. A few months ago I was putting too much pressure on myself, whereas now I’m just out there having fun and playing well. As Steve Davis used to say, it’s about playing as if it means nothing, when in fact it means everything. I have worked hard in practice so now I trust myself to produce it on the match table.
“I’m not finished here yet. I’m not here to mess about, I’m here to try to win the title. There’s no point flying half way across the world just to nick a few quid. I’m here to pick up the trophy. The only problem is that it won’t fit in my suitcase. This is not a holiday and I haven’t been outside the hotel. I’ll go back to my room now for a few hours sleep and then get ready for my match tonight.
“Within the last few weeks I’ve qualified for the Players Championship in Thailand and guaranteed my tour card for another two years, which was the main aim this season. So now it’s a matter of building on that and trying to get into the top 64. I know what I can achieve. Every three months for the past two years I have been amazed by how much I have improved as a player. There’s a lot more to come yet.
“I’m practising with players like David Gilbert, Kyren Wilson and Mark Selby, and learning a lot from them. My weakness has always been break-building but that is getting better.”
Mark Williams, seeking his first ranking title since 2011, came from 3-2 down to beat Judd Trump 4-3 in an exciting match which featured two centuries and four more breaks over 50. Trump compiled runs of 104, 55 and 67, but Williams made 68, 108 and a decisive 63 in the last frame.
Shoot-Out champion Michael White kept his hot streak going with a 4-2 win over Li Hang, compiling runs of 94, 109, 62 and 77.
Mark Davis continued his hoodoo over John Higgins, winning 4-0 to score a sixth consecutive victory over the four-time World Champion. Davis knocked in breaks of 72, 87 and 66.
Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh reached his first ranking event quarter-final with a 4-1 win over Jamie Jones, closing with a run of 123. Asked what this run means to him, Un-Nooh replied: “It means I have to change my plane ticket. I was supposed to fly home tonight. I will book it for tomorrow night now. If I get to the final I’ll just buy a new ticket.”
Robert Milkins recovered from losing the first frame to beat Graeme Dott 4-2 with a top break of 68, while Ricky Walden top-scored with 75 in a 4-0 win over Tian Pengfei.
Tonight’s quarter-final line-up:
Mark Williams v Robert Milkins
Michael White v Chris Wakelin
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Mark Davis
Ricky Walden v Joe Perry or Kyren Wilson