Zhang Anda, nicknamed the ‘Mighty Mouse’, produced a sensational finish to beat Ricky Walden 10-8 and qualify for the final stages of the Betfred.com World Championship in Sheffield tonight.

The diminutive Zhang, just 18, ended the contest with successive breaks of 134 and 103 to cause a huge upset.

Last week, he was driven past the Crucible Theatre and had no idea what the building was. He’ll find out when the 17-day snooker marathon gets underway on April 17.

“I didn’t feel nervous at all. I was just concentrating so hard on the match,” said Zhang, who practises at the Grove in Romford, also the base for Ronnie O’Sullivan.

“I have practised with Ronnie and even watching him play can help you,” he said.

Zhang was heading for main tour relegation having started the qualifiers 79th in the provisional rankings. He may still fall off the circuit but has provided proof of his potential with victories over Craig Steadman, John Parrott, Andrew Higginson and now Walden, whose hopes of joining the elite top 16 were dashed by the defeat.

But Walden, who broke down on a break of 32 in the 18th frame, sportingly led the applause after Zhang’s grandstand finish.

The Chinese finds himself in the hat for Thursday’s draw alongside some of snooker’s all time greats, including Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, O’Sullivan and defending champion John Higgins as well as compatriots Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo.


Anonymous said...

dave can you explain how can he still fall of the circuit has that now moves him to 3rd on the one year list of the ones outside the top 64

finn said...

Congratulations Zhang, Im looking forward to seeing another chinese sensation at the Crucible.
Dave, any chance of a snooker scene podcast to preview this year's tournament like last year?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Absoutely fantastic result for Zhang.

Trump and Walden just haven't made the progress that we thought they shouldve by now. The bells are ringing for Walden. Should be up to Selby's level by now.

Trump is disappointing but still young enough.

I love this sport. It's not ageist in any way. It doesn't matter how old you are folk are still qualifying. Davis, Doherty, O'Brien,Lee and Dott being the experienced Sheffield heads.

The journeymen of Campbell, Gould, m.Davis, Pettman, Hawkins and Holt.

But the argument is always that the younger players aren't coming through. This year we have Tom Ford and Zhang.

I don't see this changing (unless Hearn changes the world ranking system) and to a certain extent - why should it. This week has proved that the age in this game doesn't matter a jolt. Not many sports can say that.

Thanks, Joe

Anonymous said...

There is something very wrong with any ranking system whereby a qualifier who wins 4 matches to get to The Crucible may not be automatically on the Main Tour for next season.
I assume this is the same format which ensures voting members stay on the circuit despite hardly potting a ball for a year.
A shake up in the way ranking points are awarded would both reward victory and also discourage a budding block vote manager as we have seen before in snooker.
Congrats to Zhang Anda, someone who should have a future in the game and one wishes him luck with the draw at Sheffield.
With an awful draw he may be resigned to the PIOS and be sucked into the black hole of obscurity like Issara Kachaiwong.
Remember him?
A most unfortunate final group result in the 2006 Grand Prix meant he didn't progress despite being in the prime of his snooker career.

Anonymous said...

By my calculation, Zhang is 2nd on the 1 year list from those who are 65-96 on the provisional ranking list. And since there is no one left to overtake him, his place for the Main Tour next season is assured.


Greg P said...

That's an absolutely fantastic result.

We have a pretty good field of qualifiers this year IMO. One real shocker, three former world champs, not too many journeymen, and Liang made it. Just a shame Drago couldn't make it three on the bounce, and Trump sits it out for another year.

Can't wait until Thursday.

IanW said...

Dave..can you roughly work out how far he'd have to progress at the Crucible to climb into the Top 64? (obviously depends on other results)

Anonymous said...

dave appreciate it if you could clear this up is anda now on the tuor for next season?

CHRISK5 said...

Of all the players who qualified for the Crucible from outside the Top 16 - Liang Wenbo & Jamie Cope are most the most potent players with the capability of reaching the Quarters or Semis if they hit their respective form - Those are the two players who the current Top 16 will most want to avoid in Thursday's 1st round draw!

Dave H said...

Zhang wasn't sure, neither was anyone else and I certainly don't have the inclination to work out the one year points list.

However, if others say he's safe then I'll go with that. I certainly hope he is because his performance today was superb.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic result. I think the length of the matches tends to favour more experienced players, although not in this case! I'm beginning to get really excited now!

Anonymous said...

Global snooker have a fairly up to date ranking lists ,also showing the one year list

JohnH said...

Thanks for the interesting post Dave.
I was there to watch the first session of Anda against Parrott and could not believe a couple of the pots he attempted that sailed into the middle of the pocket. From what I saw John played a pretty good first session and to finish it behind underlined the potential of Zhang.
A podcast with yourself and Phil Yates or Clive previewing the worlds after the draw has been made would be great if you could manage it- last year was very entertaining.
Keep up the good work.
John H

Mal said...

He is 71st provisionally and he is 3rd on the one year list for those outside top 64 (behind Wattana and Wallace) - If Wattana wins a match in China, he would move up to 2nd on one year list)

If Zhang Anda wins a match in the WC he will move into the top 64 as it is very close on points in those positions and this would mean one less qualifying match for next year.
Good performance at 18

jamie brannon said...

Does anyone know where we can listen to the draw tomorrow other than in Betfred shops?

jamie brannon said...

The shock of day for me was Pettman beating Bingham 10-2

Anonymous said...

mal does that mean hes safe for next year whatever now though?

Andrew B. said...

Yes, Zhang is safe. In fact, all the top 72 on the one-year list are safe.

Anonymous said...

i expected Pettman to beat Ballrun