Ricky Walden at the 2012 Paul Hunter Classic
11 November 1982 |
|Nickname||The Stamina Man
|Highest ranking||7 (August–September 2013)|
|12 (as of 30 June 2014)|
|Highest break||147 (2011 PTC10)|
He has won two ranking event titles, the 2008 Shanghai Masters and the 2012 Wuxi Classic. He has spent four seasons in the top 32 of the rankings, and has reached the televised stages of the World Snooker Championship on four occasions. He lost in the first round in 2009 and 2011. In the 2013 World Snooker Championship, he defeated Michael Holt, Robert Milkins, and Michael White to reach the semi-finals, where he lost to Barry Hawkins. In 2014 he again lost to Hawkins, this time in the second round.
- 1 Early years
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Performance and rankings timeline
- 5 Career finals
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Walden was born in Chester but raised in Bagillt, where he now lives once more, having spent some time living elsewhere in Flintshire. He was one of the Young Players of Distinction in a scheme run in 2000, designed to help young players develop their playing and media skills, alongside Shaun Murphy, Stephen Maguire and Ali Carter. In 2001 he won the World Under-21 Championship.
Walden began his professional career by playing UK Tour in 1999 (renamed the Challenge Tour in 2000), at the time the second-level professional tour. Then he played Challenge Tour in 2001 and entered Main Tour. He started the 2004/2005 season ranked at number 78 in the world, but climbed 30 places that year. He beat John Higgins twice that season, at the Grand Prix and UK Championship, and reached the Quarter-Final of the China Open.
In 2005/2006 his best run was to the last 16 in the China Open, which he achieved by beating Stephen Maguire. In 2006/2007 he had 2 last-32 appearance including the UK Championship, where he lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan 8–9. He lost to eventual finalist Mark Selby in qualifying for the World Championship.
He reached #36 for the 2007/2008 season and the same year he reached the last 16 of the Grand Prix, beating John Parrott in qualifying and four top-32 players in the main round-robin stage. He crashed out in the China Open to Mark Selby and in the qualifying for the World Championship, to Mark Allen.
In the 2008 Shanghai Masters he defeated Lee Spick and Ian McCulloch to qualify. At the venue he defeated wildcard Zhang Anda, Stephen Hendry, Neil Robertson (5–4, from 1–4 down), Steve Davis in the quarter-finals (5–2, from 0–2 down), and Mark Selby in the semi-final (6–4, from 1–4 down). He won his first ranking title by beating Ronnie O'Sullivan 10–8 in the final. The rest of the season was solid rather than spectacular, but a qualifying victory over Anthony Hamilton earned him a first appearance at the Crucible Theatre, where he lost 6–10 to Mark Selby.
Walden made it to the World Championship for the second time in 2011 as a seeded player, but was beaten by qualifier Rory McLeod 10–6. After the match, Walden criticised McLeod for what he considered to be a slow and 'boring' style of play, although Walden was only marginally quicker than McLeod. McLeod responded to the criticism by arguing that Walden was more responsible for the pace of the match.
Walden started the 2011/2012 season slowly, by losing in qualifying for the first two ranking events of the year. However, he qualified for the UK Championship by defeating Jamie Jones 6–2. In the main draw he beat Stephen Lee, Mark Williams and Shaun Murphy all by 6–3 scorelines to set up a semi-final meeting with Mark Allen.[unreliable source?] After the first session of the best-of 17-frames match Walden held a 5–3 advantage. However, upon resumption in the evening he lost the opening four frames and would eventually lose the match 7–9. This was Walden's first semi-final in a ranking event based in Britain.
Walden played in all 12 of the minor-ranking Players Tour Championship series of events throughout the season, reaching the final in Event 6, where he lost to Neil Robertson 1–4. This result was a large factor in him finishing 15th on the PTC Order of Merit, inside the top 24 who reached the Finals. He also produced a maximum break during Event 10, the second 147 of the event. At the Finals he whitewashed Matthew Stevens 4–0, before receiving a bye to the quarter-finals due to Ronnie O'Sullivan withdrawing from the event. He played Stephen Maguire and was beaten 3–4.
Walden's performance in the UK Championship proved to be his best run in the ranking events of the season, as he could not get past the second round in any of the remaining tournaments. His season finished in disappointment as he failed to qualify for the World Championship, losing to Jamie Jones 2–10.[unreliable source?] However, Walden's form throughout the season was enough for him to end it ranked world number 15, meaning he had finished the season inside the elite top 16 for the first time.
Walden began the season by winning his second ranking event title at the Wuxi Classic. He beat amateur Zhu Yinghui in the first round 5–0 and was leading Joe Perry 4–0 and by 64–0 in the fifth frame, before Perry incredibly went on to level the match. The deciding frame came down to the final black, with Perry missing and Walden potting it at 1am local time, to reach the quarter-finals. He defeated Robert Milkins 5–3 and comfortably beat Marcus Campbell 6–1 in the semi-finals to play in his second career ranking final, where he faced Stuart Bingham. Walden raced into a 7–1 lead in the first session, despite Bingham's solitary frame being a 147, and would return to close out a 10–4 victory. Following this he lost in the first round of the Australian Goldfields Open 4–5 to Jamie Cope and in the second round of the Shanghai Masters 2–5 to Mark Williams.
At the inaugural International Championship Walden saw off Lu Ning in the first round and then kept his concentration at 4–0 up against world number one Mark Selby in the next round to triumph 6–3. He was then whitewashed 0–6 by Peter Ebdon in the quarter-finals. At the UK Championship, Walden played 17-year-old world number 74 Luca Brecel in the first round and despite leading 2–0, 4–2, and 5–4 in the best-of-11 frame match, Walden was eventually beaten 5–6. Now a part of the elite top 16, Walden played in the Masters for the second time in his career and looked to have all the momentum in his first round match against Shaun Murphy as he recovered from 1–4 down to draw level at 4–4, but Murphy upped his game to take the last two frames and expel Walden from the tournament.
Successive first round losses at the German Masters and Welsh Open ensued, before Walden rediscovered some form at the World Open by eliminating Ebdon 5–2 and Stephen Maguire 5–4, but then lost to reigning champion Mark Allen 1–5 in the quarter-finals. Walden emphatically recorded his first ever victory at the World Championship by thrashing Michael Holt 10–1 in the opening round. He played Robert Milkins in the last 16 and saw a dominating lead of 9–3 cut to 11–10, before holding his nerve to advance to the quarter-finals with a 13–11 win. Walden played qualifier Michael White in the quarter-finals, defeating him 13–6 to progress to the semi-finals, where he faced Barry Hawkins. Walden led the match 12–8 before Hawkins won eight successive frames and went on to defeat Walden 17–14. He finished the season at a career high world number eight in the rankings.
Walden began using a new cue at the start of the 2013/2014 season and lost in the first round of the opening two ranking events, but won the minor-ranking Bluebell Wood Open, defeating Marco Fu 4–3 in the final. In the UK Championship, Walden defeated Mark Williams 6–5 in the last 32, Ding Junhui 6–4 in the last 16, and Mark Allen 6–2 in the quarter-finals to reach his second UK semi-final in three years. Playing Mark Selby in the semi-final, he was on the receiving end of snooker's 100th professional maximum break in the seventh frame and went on to lose the match 9–5. Five days later, Walden witnessed another 147 against him, this time by Gary Wilson in qualifying for the German Masters, a match that Walden lost 5–3.
In the Masters, Walden came from 5–2 behind to defeat Barry Hawkins 6–5 in the first round. He faced Ronnie O'Sullivan in the quarter-finals, but was whitewashed 6–0 in a match that lasted just 58 minutes. Walden scored 39 points in the first frame, but nothing thereafter as O'Sullivan compiled 556 points without reply, setting a new professional record. He beat Pankaj Advani, Xiao Guodong and Shaun Murphy in reaching the quarter-finals of the China Open, but then lost 5–3 to Ali Carter. At the World Championship, Walden beat Kyren Wilson 10–7 to face Hawkins in the second round, a repeat of last year's semi-final. At 9–5 ahead, Walden again squandered a lead against Hawkins as he was defeated 13–11.
Performance and rankings timeline
|Ranking[nb 1]||UR[nb 2][nb 3]||UR[nb 3]||UR||109||99||78||48||36||36||35||20||20||20||15||8||10|
|Wuxi Classic[nb 4]||Not held||Non-ranking||W||1R||2R|
|Australian Goldfields Open||Not held||LQ||1R||1R||QF|
|Shanghai Masters||Not held||LQ||W||QF||1R||LQ||2R||1R|
|Indian Open||Tournament Not Held||2R|
|International Championship||Not held||QF||LQ|
|World Open[nb 5]||A||A||LQ||LQ||LQ||2R||2R||LQ||2R||1R||1R||QF||1R||QF||3R|
|German Masters||Not held||2R||2R||1R||LQ|
|Players Championship Grand Final[nb 6]||Not held||2R||QF||DNQ||1R|
|China Open||A||A||LQ||Not held||QF||2R||LQ||1R||2R||LQ||2R||2R||2R||QF|
|Champion of Champions||Tournament Not Held||1R|
|Championship League||Not held||A||RR||RR||RR||RR||RR||2R|
|Variant format tournaments|
|Six-red World Championship[nb 7]||Not held||W||2R||F||NH||SF||2R|
|Former ranking tournaments|
|Thailand Masters||A||A||LQ||NR||Not Held||NR||Tournament Not Held|
|Scottish Open[nb 8]||A||A||LQ||LQ||LQ||Not held||MR||Not Held|
|British Open||A||A||LQ||1R||2R||LQ||Not held|
|Irish Masters||Non-ranking||LQ||LQ||LQ||NH||NR||Not held|
|Malta Cup[nb 9]||Not held||LQ||LQ||LQ||LQ||LQ||1R||NR||Not held|
|Northern Ireland Trophy||Not held||NR||LQ||LQ||1R||Not held|
|Bahrain Championship||Not held||1R||Not held|
|Former non-ranking tournaments|
|Brazil Masters||Not held||QF||Not held|
|Performance Table Legend|
|LQ||lost in the qualifying draw||#R||lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
|QF||lost in the quarter-finals|
|SF||lost in the semi-finals||F||lost in the final||W||won the tournament|
|DNQ||did not qualify for the tournament||A||did not participate in the tournament||WD||withdrew from the tournament|
|NH / Not Held||means an event was not held.|
|NR / Non-Ranking Event||means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.|
|R / Ranking Event||means an event is/was a ranking event.|
|MR / Minor-Ranking Event||means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.|
- From the 2010/2011 season it shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
- New players don't have a ranking.
- He was not on the Main Tour.
- The event was called the Jiangsu Classic (2008/2009–2009/2010)
- The event was called the Grand Prix (1999/2000–2000/2001 and 2004/2005–2009/2010) and the LG Cup (2001/2002–2003/2004)
- The event was called the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2010/2011–2012/2013)
- The event was called the Six-red Snooker International (2008/2009) and the Six-red World Grand Prix (2009/2010)
- The event was called the Players Championship (2003/2004)
- The event was called the European Open (2001/2002–2003/2004)