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Welshman White wins maiden ranking title



Indian Open SnookerMichael White of Wales, world ranked 22, was in tremendous form and gave a brilliant exhibition of potting with control and breaking building as he completely whitewashed England’s world rank 8, Ricky Walden 5-0, in the best-of-9-frame final of the 300,000 pounds Indian Open Snooker World Ranking Tournament, organized by the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI), and being played at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Kalina, on Saturday evening.
The 23-year-old Welshman from Neath, was quickly off the blocks and every time Walden made a mistake he was punished by White who captitalised on the openings by constructing some neat breaks of 81 in the first, 77 in the second, 45 and 41 in the third and 32 and 58 in the fourth, to take a commanding 4-0 lead before a short interval. The 25-minute break did not help Walden to regain his concentration and focus while White once again continued to hit the balls with a high degree of precision and came up with another run of 85, which was the highest of the match, win the frame and to emerge champion. On the other hand the 32-year-old Walden was completely out of touch and could muster only 27 points in the match which finished in less than 54 minutes.
This triumph was White’s maiden world ranking title and will he return home richer by 50,000 pounds, while Walden pocketed the runner-up prize of 25,000 pounds. The Welshman, who won his first pro title when he defeated China’s Xiao Guodong in the Snooker Shoot-out in Blackpool, England last week, has also recorded his first win against the Englishman in three meetings. White had lost to Walden in the quarter-finals of the World Championship in 2013 and in the Euro PTC 2 in October 2010.
Earlier in the semi-finals played in the morning, Walden had to bring out his best to overcome a 0-3 deficit and script a sensational 4-3 win against qualifier and giant-killer Thepachiaya Un-Nooh of Thailand, who was playing his first ever semi-final of a ranking tournament. The Thai, world ranked 61, had beaten world number 4 and defending champion Ding Junhui of China in the first round and world number 12 Mark Davis in the previous round, before falling to guiles of the England pro, who cleverly adopted a tactical defensive game. The left-handed Thai cueist returned home richer by 13,500 pounds.
In the first semi-final, White was in full flow against his countryman and idol Mark Williams, world rank 15, scoring a comfortable 4-2 victory. The former two-time world champion Williams another southpaw, won the first frame but was unable to stop the younger Welshman, who rattled in a table clearance break of 126 in the second and then signed off with a 87 in the sixth to wrap up the match.
Shri Vinod Tawde, Honourbale Minister for Sports & Youth Affairs, Government of Maharashtra, was the Chief Guest and presented the Trophies and cash awards to winners and Runner-up.
Results – Final: Michael White (Wales) bt Ricky Walden (England) (81(81)-0, 77(77)-20, 86(45, 41)-0, 90(32, 58)-1, 85(85)-6).
Semi-final: Michael White (Wales) bt Mark Williams (Wales) 4-2 (41-65, 126(126)-7, 66-23, 80(41)-40, 39-68(55), 109(87)-4).
Ricky Walden (England) bt Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (Thailand) 4-3 (0-78(78), 53(53)-68(62), 0-72(68), 81-0, 73(42)-36, 78(78)-0, 91(41)-47(34).

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