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.


Anonymous said...

come on champ!

Anonymous said...

I know someone that backed him at 125/1 for last year, but he doesn't like to talk about it too much.

Anonymous said...

it was a great performance from Ricky.

beating Ronnie who won the NIT a few weeks earlier in the final was outstanding by anyones standards.

Anonymous said...

never liked Walden, he has absolutelly no chance of defending his title or winning another one! the same case is Ali Carter, they are the one title in career kinda players! don't get me wrong, i like Ali very much but that's just how it is! They have no winner mentality and therefore that's it for them! one title on which they can be very proud but that's all!

Anonymous said...

ah, i remember that.

one of many times in the last 3or4 years hendry was beat by the eventual tournament winner (and a handful of those times were in very close matches like this)

Anonymous said...

ding junhui i fancy this tournament i reckon this year he is going to come back to his best with a bit less pressure on him with wenbo now a challenger.

Anonymous said...

Walden may not win this one but i am certain he will win at least one Ranking tournament this season if not more... he will be top 16 next season without a Doubt!

Anonymous said...

mark allen has to have a shot although his draw is potentially quite tricky

Anonymous said...

no he wont!