Michael White reached his first ranking event semi-final with a 4-2 win over Chris Wakelin at the Indian Open on Friday night.
White won his first pro tournament last week at the Shoot-Out and has kept his hot streak going this week in Mumbai. After four previous defeats at the quarter-final stage of ranking events, he has gone one step further. The talented 23-year-old from Neath now meets his boyhood idol Mark Williams in the last four tomorrow morning.
Wakelin, playing his first ranking quarter-final, led 2-1 before White fired in breaks of 71 and 99 to take the next two frames. Both players had chances in the sixth but it was White who potted the last pink and black to ensure his presence on the last day at the Grand Hyatt hotel.
“It was a relief to win the last frame because I felt if it went 3-3 my chance would have gone,” said White. “I am really chuffed to get to a semi-final at last. Chris started brilliantly tonight and I just had to stick with him. I’ve got to the semi-finals without having to play anyone in the top 32. But I’ve got Mark tomorrow and he’s playing better than anyone at the moment. I will have to be at my best.”
Williams reached his third ranking semi of the season with a 4-1 victory over Robert Milkins, top scoring with 51 and 76. Like White, 39-year-old Williams also enjoyed success in Blackpool last week, winning the World Seniors title on his debut in the event.
The Welshman, now chasing his first ranking title since the 2011 German Masters, said: “Tonight was the worst I have played this week. It was sticky out there. But I’m happy to get through and there’s only four players left now so someone has to win it. I have been telling everyone for a while now that Michael is going to start winning tournaments. He’s knocking on the tour and ready to win a ranking event.”
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh was another to reach his first ranking semi-final, thanks to a 4-2 win over Mark Davis. From 2-2, Thailand’s 29-year-old Un-Nooh won the last two frames with breaks of 82 and 74.
World number 61 Un-Nooh, who was runner-up to Joe Perry at an Asian Tour event in January, said: “I’m very happy. Tonight’s match was really tough because Mark is a very strong safety player. I just had to fight. This has been good experience for me. I’m not thinking about the money, I’m thinking about my ranking because I need to get into the top 48. I am on my own here because the other Thai players have gone, but I am getting a lot of messages from friends.”
He now meets world number eight Ricky Walden, the highest ranked remaining player. Chester’s Walden, chasing his second ranking title of the season having won the International Championship, came from 2-1 down to beat Joe Perry 4-2 with runs of 69, 119 and 96 in the last three frames.