Professional Snooker / 2016 China Open

28th March - 3rd April 2016 / Beijing University Students' Gymnasium, Beijing, China


Ricky Walden and Judd Trump will contest the final of the 15th edition China Open in Beijing on Sunday.

The results from Saturday's semi-finals were polar opposite, but both winners beat their Scottish opponents in impressive fashion.

Walden will feature in back to back major finals for the first time in his career after he finished off in style when eliminating John Higgins 6-5.

​Higgins took the opener before Walden counter attacked with breaks of 82 and 66 to take the next two, but the 28 time major ranking winner levelled it up going into the mid-session interval with a 64.

​On the resumption Walden rattled in a 113 for the fifth, 'The Wizard' squared it up again, but the Englishman chalked up Frames 7 and 8, including a 96 in the eighth, to go one away.

​With his back to the wall, Higgins has so often produced the goods during his long, prolific career. Once again, runs of 99 and 52 would force a decider, although there was an interesting conclusion to Frame 10.

After a see saw frame, with the black on the side cushion, Walden missed his attempted double and Higgins responded with a fantastic long distance safety. Facing a horrible shot, Ricky tried to double kiss the cue ball back into baulk, but ended up going in-off into the yellow pocket.

A lot of players would have been disturbed with the outcome of the last couple of frames, but Walden nonchalantly crafted a tremendous 131; his third century of the week, to oust his rival.

It is an incredible turnaround in fortunes for Walden, who hadn't even reached a quarter-final in any of the majors before arriving at the Players Championship in Manchester at the start of last week. 

There he won four matches to face Mark Allen in the final, and despite losing, his run put his campaign back on track. Immediately, he can make amends for that defeat tomorrow.

In the space of just those seven days, Walden has guaranteed himself £73,000 already; which is £25,775 more than what he'd earned throughout the whole season before this spell!

If he should lift the gold dish on Sunday evening, it will complete a career Chinese quadruple for the 33 year old who has the 2009 Shanghai Masters, 2012 Wuxi Classic and 2014 International Championship titles on his CV. 

Trump started his clash against Stephen Maguire with a rapid 100 break and a further contribution of 90 in the fourth helped him to a surprising 6-0 clean sweep of his opposite number.

The 26 year old has fond memories of this venue; back in 2011 he made his big breakthrough when beating Mark Selby in the final for his first major title as a professional. Straight away afterwards he also made the final of the World Championship at the Crucible.

Despite being very consistent throughout most of the season, Trump is trophyless in all ranking events. He did chalk up another invitational Championship League ​crown, but the Shanghai Masters was previously his only ranking final appearance of any description.

The four-time major ranking winner looks for his first trophy on that scale since the 2014 Australian Open.

The best of 19 final will be played over two sessions, with the champion pocketing £85,000.

Written and published by Michael Day on the 2nd April 2016

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