Sunday 11 December 2016

Ricky Walden sets up semi-final clash with Barry Hawkins

Published 25/03/2016 | 23:21

Ricky Walden booked a semi-final spot
Ricky Walden booked a semi-final spot

Ricky Walden fired two centuries in a 4-1 win against Ali Carter to set up a Ladbrokes Players Championship semi-final against Barry Hawkins.

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At the tournament in Manchester, Walden made breaks of 114 and 111 on the way to a 4-1 victory over fellow English potter Carter, sealed by an 85 in the fifth frame.

Walden, 33, was playing his first ranking event quarter-final of a difficult season and admits he was "tinkering about" with his game for 10 months, which he considers a "waste" of energy.

He added, on World Snooker's website: "I have gone back to basics now, to what I know best, it is working and my confidence has come back. I am playing to my strengths again."

Hawkins did not need to be as punishing at the table in fending off Ding Junhui 4-2, with a 79 in the final frame his weightiest contribution. Ding, in defeat, made a 127 in the fifth frame to cut his deficit to 3-2 but the Chinese player could not extend the contest to a decider.

Northern Ireland's Mark Allen battled out a 4-1 win against England's Mike Dunn to join the semi-final line-up, making his only 50-plus break in the final frame when a run of 61 helped him over the line.

Allen knew his laboured display had attracted social media criticism, and he wrote on Twitter: "All these tweets about my poor performance and can't argue with any of them ha ha still in though which is all that matters!!"

The tournament pays the winner a £100,000 top prize, with semi-finals to be played on Saturday and the final on Sunday.

Ben Woollaston came from 3-1 behind to take Shaun Murphy into a decider, but the 2005 world champion survived the scare to win through 4-3.

Murphy, who triumphed at the World Grand Prix in Llandudno earlier in March, trailed Woollaston in the seventh frame but turned it around to earn a clash with Allen.

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