Ricky Walden won his second ranking event, beating Stuart Bingham 10-4 in an exciting final at the Wuxi Classic.
By Matt Rich
Chester’s 29-year-old Walden collected a cheque for £75,000 as he got his season off to a perfect start. The 2008 Shanghai Masters winner played a marvellous match and enjoyed a healthy lead throughout after winning the first two frames on the black. He fought his way back from being 57-28 down in the first and 43-3 in the second to take a two frame lead and went into the afternoon session interval at 4-0, helped by a break of 69 in the third.
He increased his lead to 5-0 after the restart but a brilliant 147 by Bingham in the sixth got him on the scoreboard. It was the third maximum of his career and saw him become only the third player other than Stephen Hendry and John Higgins to make a 147 in a ranking event final.
He earned a £5,000 bonus from the rolling 147 prize pot as well as the £2,000 high break prize for his effort, but it didn’t deter Walden who went on to win the next four frames with high totals of 56 and 73, leaving him one from victory at 9-1.
The Essex cueman, Bingham, restored some pride with a couple of century breaks of 103 and 100 in the following two frames and took the 13th to make it 9-4. But Walden didn’t get flustered, sinking a 74 to win the match and the first ranking event of the season.
“I’m over the moon to win the event,” said Walden. “It was a tough game today, I won a few good early frames on the black to open up a lead and I played pretty solid from then. Stuart missed a couple of balls and I took advantage of the few mistakes that he made. In the second session Stuart looked like he was hitting the ball a bit better and he was putting a few good breaks together. I was just trying to hang in there and just keep doing what I was doing, playing solid stuff, keeping it tight, as tight as I can and hoping my chance would come and I took it out in the end. I’m very, very pleased.
“I think the first two frames were massive. The first frame, I felt like I hadn’t settled down and Stuart seemed to be getting the upper hand. When he missed and let me in I managed to get a couple of snookers to put the pressure back on. I think it sets the tone for the rest of the match and I took advantage of a few of his mistakes, potted a few big balls in the opening five or six frames and I managed to keep a decent lead.
“It’s great to play out in China, the game’s getting bigger and bigger over here. Four years ago when I won in Shanghai, it was all kicking off then and it was great to play then. But there’s going to be more and more tournaments over here, if you can learn to win in China then it’s a good thing because the tournaments are slightly different than they are in the UK. Every tournament is different and if you can manage to win in China then I think it’s a good thing. The lads are enjoying playing out here as well.
“It’s my first time in Wuxi, obviously we’ve been playing a lot of tournaments in Beijing and Shanghai so it’s always nice to come to a different place. The people have been great, the fans have been great, it’s a great city and the trophy is an unbelievable trophy so it’s an honour for me to win for the first time.
“I’m just looking forward to playing, I’m enjoying my snooker at the moment. It’s such a full calendar that you know that if you have a bad result one week you can have a good go the next week and try to redeem the result. I’ve not got any targets, I just want to keep enjoying my snooker, travelling to as many tournaments as I can just play well, like I’ve started to this week.”
When asked how he’d celebrate, he said: “I’m sure I’ll watch the football. I’m still a little bit gutted, a little bit sore about England losing to the Italians. I’m a big football fan so I might have a few beers and watch the football, that’ll be my night tonight.”
A dejected Bingham said at the end: “Obviously I’m a bit disappointed, I’ve had 15 or so unbeaten and today it just didn’t happen. I think it was just a bad day at the office. Some consolation was the 147. It’s always nice to make a 147, especially in a final. I’ve been told it’s only the third one in a final so it’s some history.
“If someone had said before I went to China that I’d win the ATPC event and come here and get to the final I’d have bit their hand off so I can’t grumble. That’s my third professional 147, I normally get close a couple of times before I make one so it summed up a good week for me.”
Times are local (BST +7 hours)
Monday June 25
WC2 Jamie Burnett 5-3 Jin Long
21 Matthew Stevens w/d Joe Perry BYE
WC4 Rod Lawler 5-2 Li Hang
WC5 Dave Harold 1-5 Rouzi Maimaiti
WC7 Michael Holt 1-5 Zhu Yinghui
9 Mark Selby 5-2 Barry Hawkins
WC6 Fergal O’Brien 5-2 Lu Haotian
WC8 Robert Milkins 5-2 Chen Feilong
Tuesday June 26
13 Neil Robertson 1-5 Jamie Burnett
WC1 Ken Doherty 5-4 Lu Ning
11 Stuart Bingham 5-4 Peter Ebdon
18 Mark Allen 5-1 Ruzi Maimaiti
14 Ding Junhui 2-5 Mark Davis
WC3 Michael White 4-5 Zhou Yuelong
19 Allister Carter 3-5 Fergal O’Brien
10 Martin Gould 3-5 Jamie Cope
Wednesday June 27
17 Mark Williams 5-0 Tom Ford
12 Shaun Murphy 1-5 Ken Doherty
22 Ricky Walden 5-0 Zhu Yinghui
23 Andrew Higginson 3-5 Robert Milkins
24 Judd Trump 5-1 Dominic Dale
16 Stephen Maguire 4-5 Rod Lawler
20 Stephen Lee 1-5 Marcus Campbell
15 Graeme Dott 5-1 Zhou Yuelong
Thursday June 28
32 Robert Milkins 5-3 Judd Trump
29 Mark Williams 5-3 Mark Allen
26 Stuart Bingham 5-4 Ken Doherty
30 Fergal O’Brien 2-5 Marcus Campbell
27 Jamie Burnett 3-5 Mark Davis
25 Mark Selby 5-0 Jamie Cope
28 Graeme Dott 5-4 Rod Lawler
31 Joe Perry 4-5 Ricky Walden
Friday June 29
Mark Selby 4-5 Stuart Bingham
Mark Davis 5-0 Graeme Dott
Mark Williams 3-5 Marcus Campbell
Ricky Walden 5-3 Robert Milkins
Saturday June 30
Stuart Bingham 6-5 Mark Davis
Ricky Walden 6-1 Marcus Campbell
Sunday July 1
Stuart Bingham v Ricky Walden
Stuart Bingham 4-10 Ricky Walden
All matches up to and including quarter-finals are best of 9 frames. Semi-finals are best of 11 and the final is best of 19 (9/10).