Walden wins in Wuxi
Ricky Walden beat Stuart Bingham 10-4 in Sunday’s Wuxi Classic final to bag the first ranking title of the 2012/2013 snooker season. The Englishman is no stranger to Chinese silverware, his last ranking title being won in 2008 when he beat “The Rocket” Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-8 in the Shanghai Masters final.
Although the scoreline indicates Walden’s undoubted dominance throughout the entire match, his opponent Stuart Bingham – who just a week ago was crowned the champion of the first Asian Player Tour Championship event (APTC 1) – made an interesting “statement” on the green baize. With the score at 5-0, Bingham took his chances to record a perfect 147 and win his first frame of the day. This was his third maximum break as a professional snooker player and the 89th in snooker’s history.
However, as the first session was near to its end, Walden extended his lead at 7-1, needing just three more frames to stop his trophy drought.
As the match restarted, runs of 43 and 73 put the 2008 Shanghai Masters champion just one step away from victory, while Bingham was trying his best to make up for struggling through the first session.
Two century breaks of 103 and 100 points brought Bingham two consecutive frames, while a series of 46 and 42 kept his hopes of a comeback alive. Still, his coming-back-to-form happened a little bit too late, Walden closing the deal with a top break of 74 for a final 10-4 scoreline.
Thanks to his victory in Wuxi, for which he received a check of £75,000 and 7,000 very valuable ranking points, Ricky Walden managed not only to consolidate his place in the top 16, but also to move up one place to 10th.
The Wuxi Classic tournament was established in 2008 and until this year it was an invitation event, not carrying ranking points. But because of snooker’s enormous popularity in China, World Snooker Ltd chairman, Barry Hearn, decided to change the event’s status and turned it into a ranking one.