The English snooker player Ricky Walden has won the first snooker tournament of the season by beating the more experienced player Stuart Bingham 10-4 in the final.
The first snooker event of the 2012-2013 season has appeared somewhat early on the calendar than with previous seasons. Whilst some of the more established players were still thinking of their summer holidays, Ricky Walden played some impressive snooker to win the Wuxi Classic. His opponent in the final was the more experienced veteran professional Stuart Bingham.
To reach the final, Walden, aged 29, defeated the Chinese player Zhu Yinghui 5-0, Joe Perry 5-4, Robert Milkins 5-3, and in the semi-final he outplayed Marcus Campbell by 6 frames to 1. Bingham's progress consisted of wins over Peter Ebdon 5-4, former world champion Ken Doherty 5-4, Mark Selby 5-4, and Mark Davis 6-5. Remarkably each victory was by a single frame.
However, it was Walden who was the sharper player in the final going 5-0. The opening frames were relatively long, with the first four frames, according to the Pro Snooker Blog, taking four hours to complete. Remarkably, Bingham won his debut frame, the sixth, by scoring a superb maximum break (potting fifteen reds, fifteen blacks, followed by the six colors for a 147 break). Undaunted, Walden moved to 9-1 before Bingham hit a 'purple patch', knocking in runs of 103 and 100 to pull the score back to 9-4. Undaunted, Walden clinched the frame he needed with his highest break of the match, a 74.
Walden won £75,000 (around $117,000) and Bingham won £30,000 (around $47,000) plus a bonus of £7,000 ($11,000) for his 147 break.
Quoted by World Snooker, Walden said of his victory:
"I'm over the moon to win the event. 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."
The frame scores, as Snooker org lists them, were (Walden first):
59-57, 53-43, 69-1 (69), 62-22, 54-24, 0-147 (147), 57-1 (56), 65-33, 76-34, 74-24 (73), 0-103 (103), 0-100 (100), 20-92, 84-41 (74)
This was Walden's second major tournament of his career, having won the 2008 Shanghai Masters.
The tournament was held at Wuxi City Sports Park Stadium, Wuxi, China and took place between June 25 and July 1.