Ricky Walden has been a solid player on the tour for a number of years now and has unquestionably got the ability to shine in the future. Ricky turned professional in 2000 but had his breakthrough season in 2004/05 where he qualified for a number of events and reached the quarter-finals of the China Open, propelling himself into the top 48 in the world.
After cracking the top 48, Ricky remained solid but certainly not spectacular. He struggled to make an impact in the latter stages of ranking events and so it came as quite a surprise when he won the 2008 Shanghai Masters, defeating Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final.
Using this as a catalyst to push on, Ricky won his second ranking event as he saw off Stuart Bingham’s challenge to earn the Wuxi Classic prize fund. On his way to glory in China, he saw off the challenge of tour favourites Joe Perry, Robert Milkins and Marcus Campbell to cement his place among Snooker’s elite.
Ricky found himself in the world’s top 16 players for the first time during the 2011/12 season, and hit a career-high of 8th after reaching the semi-finals of the World Championship. At the Crucible he displayed great ability, thrashing Michael Holt 10-1 in the opening round before wins over Robert Milkins and Michael White to progress to the last four. Here, he faced Barry Hawkins and, leading 12-8 at one point in the match, looked on course for a first World Championship finals, but for his opponent to claw him back and win eight consecutive frames.
Ricky has shown consistency and form in the PTC’s and with growing experience should continue to be a factor in ranking events. Still relatively young, his path has constantly been up the rankings and this is a trend he will obviously be looking to continue.
Certainly, there is every chance that Ricky’s reputation will continue to rise and having shown in the past that he is capable of going all the way in an event, we can hope that we’ll see him do it again in the future.
Nickname: Stamina Man
Date of Birth: 11.11.1982
Lives: Chester, Cheshire
Professional Since: 2000
Current World Ranking: 8
Highest Tournament Break: 147 – PTC Event (2011), Wuxi Classic (2012)
Ranking Tournament Wins: Shanghai Masters (2008), Wuxi Classic (2012)
Official Twitter: @RickyWalden147