NOT EVEN a brilliant maximum 147 break from Stuart Bingham stopped Ricky Walden in his tracks to clinch his second world ranking title of his career.
Walden completed an impressive week on the baize beating Bingham 10-4 to be crowned Wuxi Classic champion 2012.
This is Walden’s second big ranking event win after he was crowned Shanghai Masters champion in 2008. The Chester-born star also made history by becoming the first winner of the Wuxi Classic since the week-long tournament was upgraded to full ranking event status earlier this year by World Snooker.
The world-number-15, who beat Zhu Yinhgui, Joe Perry, Robert Milkins and Marcus Campbell en-route to the final, won the opening four frames to take a significant 4-0 lead at the mid-session interval.
Walden then increased his lead to 5-0 after the restart winning a fifth scrappy frame.
Bingham was having a poor day at the office and looked nothing like the player who more than a week ago won the Asian PTC 1 event. But it was to all come together for him in frame six when he showed his world-class ability scoring a superb 147 after Walden missed a long red.
This was truly impressive from Bingham who in the previous five frames was missing standard pots frequently and looked all out of sorts. So to then shake off what had gone on before and pull off a maximum break was a great achievement.
Bingham becomes only the third player in the history of the game to hit a 147 break in a ranking event final – following in the footsteps of Stephen Hendry (British Open, 1999) and John Higgins (LG Cup, 2003).
But Bingham’s 147 joy was to be short-lived as Walden went on to take the next two frames and have a huge 7-1 lead at the end of the afternoon session.
The evening session started where it left off for Bingham who continued to miss relatively easy-looking shots. Break of 48 and 73 increased Walden’s lead to 9-1 and put him on the verge of the title.
But to his credit Bingham refused to throw in the towel and back to back centuries added to what was a strange final and reduced his deficit to 9-3 and forced a mid-session interval to take place. Amazingly, Bingham had won his three frames with century breaks – Walden did not score one throughout the whole game.
Bingham continued to make the scoreline more respectable after the restart when runs of 46 and 42 helped him claim a third successive frame but Walden completed his victory after Bingham let him in missing a red with the rest while 31-0 up.
Walden won the Wuxi Classic trophy as well as the winners cash prize of £75,000 and goes up to tenth place in the projected seedings list.
Bingham is currently placed 11th and will hope to go one step further when he bids to defend his Australian Goldfields Open title which begins on Monday, July 9.
Congratulations to Ricky Walden on his Wuxi Classic success and Stuart Bingham on his 147.