Sunday, 1 July 2012

Walden wins in Wuxi

Ricky Walden won a bizarre Wuxi Classic final to secure his second major ranking event title.

His 10-4 victory against Stuart Bingham was comprehensive - with him leading 9-1 at one point - but the match included a 147 maximum break plus a further two centuries from the eventual runner-up.

Picture by Kiss Zslot
Despite Bingham's exploits, it's the Chester-born potter who is cheering. He adds to his 2008 capture of Shanghai Masters and sets himself up nicely for the season ahead.

In a week where many of the top stars were knocked out in the early rounds, it's no surprise to see Walden and Bingham get to the final. It's a big season for both of them as they look consolidate their places in the top 16, and this was an excellent effort.

Both of these lads love their snooker and are 100 per cent dedicated to their profession.

To be playing competitive snooker in June is still somewhat of a novelty but they've taken the chance to cash in on many of their fellow players still being in holiday mode.

Walden will be pleased to finally add to his first title four years ago, and would be the first to admit he hasn't exactly pushed on from that like many expected.

Despite failing to qualify for the World Championship, he's managed to get himself back into the top 16 for the start of this season and will be hoping to settle in that company more than he did when he first broke in.

Confidence has never been a problem for him. He has great self-belief and when on form is one of the most attacking players around. This win will give him the chance to relax and produce his best.

Bingham would dearly have loved to add to the first major title he won at the Australian Open a year ago, but shouldn't be too disappointed with his place as runner-up.

He won all four of his matches to get to the final by a decider and showed great fighting qualities. His maximum break makes him only the third player to do it in a final, joining John Higgins and Stephen Hendry.

He would have swapped that accolade for winning enough scrappy frames to lift the trophy, but this doesn't take away from his excellent start to the season. He won the APTC1 event a week ago and also landed top prize at the Pink Ribbon pro-am event in last month. That gives him a great foundation to build on.

Next stop, Australia.

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