Ricky Walden’s Shanghai Masters success was one of the highlights of last season.
Anyone who had seen him play knew how good he was but Walden seemed to be making slower progress than expected and, at 35th in the world rankings, looked as if he may not make the breakthrough many had predicted.
Up until Shanghai last year, his best showing was a solitary ranking event quarter-final.
However, Walden put all of this right. And how.
He edged Stephen Hendry 5-4, recovered from 4-1 down to scrape past Neil Robertson in a decider, survived a tactical mauling from Steve Davis to beat him 5-2, came from 4-1 down to beat Mark Selby 6-4 and then defeated Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-8 in the final.
Sometimes it is possible to say ‘the draw opened up’ for the winner of a ranking title. Not for Walden.
And he at no time faltered as the winning line approached - and indeed finished off with a century - which proves his mental attitude was right.
He can certainly win more titles, but that of course applies to many other players as well.
His Shanghai defence starts on Tuesday against Mark King. Back in happily familiar surroundings, Walden has every chance of going a long way again.