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Indian Open Snooker: Michae White destroys Ricky Walden for maiden title

Michael White Mumbai, March 14 (IANS) Once a child prodigy, 23-year-old Michael White from Wales came of age here on Saturday when he annihilated ...

Michael White

Mumbai, March 14 (IANS)

Once a child prodigy, 23-year-old Michael White from Wales came of age here on Saturday when he annihilated World No.8 Englishman Ricky Walden 5-0 in the final of the 300,000 pounds Indian Open World ranking snooker tournament in just 57 minutes. In winning his maiden professional ranking tournament besides 50,000 pounds in prize-money, White, playing his first final, showcased his amazing potting prowess even as 32-year old Walden, who picked up 25,000 Pounds as the runner-up, barely got a look in, managing a mere 27 points in five frames.

White, who beat his boyhood idol and double World champion Mark Williams 4-2 in the semifinal this morning, continued his good form that he had shown recently while winning the international Shoot-out competition.

Immediately after the match, Williams had a selfie taken with White, much to the delight of the youngster who was inspired by the feats of the World champion.

Walden, who had a tough semifinal against Thailand's Thepchaiya Un-Nooh while winning 4-3 after being down 0-3, had little to offer against White as he committed uncharacteristic errors for which he was severely punished.

White, who became the youngest player to make a century break (105) exactly 14 years ago as a nine-year old and went on to become the youngest ever winner of the IBSF World Grand Prix five years later, barely played a false shot.

Such was his cue-ball control and precision potting that White was able to recover even when he lost position as was the case during the run of 58 in the fourth frame.

White had the foot on gas pedal from the start. Cueing fluently and striking well, White crafted breaks of 81, 77, 45, 41 and 58 for a 4-0 lead and at this stage, a 25-minute break was announced.

The stoppage had no impact on White who turned professional for the 2007-08 season. But he had to concede a walkover as he was not allowed to play since he was not yet 16, returned to fire a break of 85 in the fifth frame that lasted only 10 minutes, to wrap up the match.

Incidentally, the previous edition of the Indian Open, held in New Delhi, had seen Ding Junhui defeating Aditya Mehta 5-0.

In fact, such was White's pace as he darted around the table like an eager beaver that the four frames lasted just 47 minutes most of which Walden, winner of the International Championship and runner-up in the 2014 Six-Red World championship, spent sitting in his chair and watching his execution.

Earlier, Waldena's experience proved a tad too much for the precious but highly talented Un-Nooh who had created a buzz after putting out World No.4 and defending champion Junhui in the first round.

Walden won a dramatic and high quality match that 29-year old Un-Nooh, ranked No.61, seemingly had under control when he led 3-0 on breaks of 78, 62 and 68.

However, the more experienced Walden, in his 15th season on the pro circuit, responded well by taking the next three frames with a beautifully constructed break of 81 in the fourth to level the scores at 3-3.

The decisive moment came at the business end of the seventh when Walden extracted 26 points after laying a brilliant snooker on the last red when trailing 42-47.

A tense Un-Nooh fouled no fewer than six times to concede 26 points as he tried to make contact on the red sitting tight on the bottom cushion and the cue ball close to black behind the spot.

The Thai finally succeeded on his seventh attempt coming off one cushion, but Walden cleared the table to black to close the match to set up a title clash with White.

For one so young though in his eighth season on the pro circuit, White displayed remarkable composure and character under pressure, especially after losing the first frame.

"The first frame was scrappy and I made lot of mistakes, but the 126 in the second was just what I needed," said White who as per his own admission has turned away from the youthful temptations to lead a more disciplined life which in turn has helped him improve his game.

In contrast, Williams, a boxer turned snooker player, seemed to be in poor form and looked half the player he is as the 39-year old son of a miner just fell off the edge.

Though Williams, nicknamed "Welsh Potting Machine", rallied by taking the tight fifth frame on the colours, White came roaring back with a break of 87 to clinch the match in the sixth as the young Welshman.

The results:

Final (Best-of-nine frames): Michael White (Wales) bt Ricky Walden (England) 5-A : 81 (81)-00, 77 (77)-20, 86 (45,41)-00, 90 (58)-01, 85 (85)-06.

Semifinals: Michael White (Wales) bt Mark Williams (Wales) 4-2: 41-65, 126 (126)-07, 66-23, 80-40, 39-68 (55), 109 (87)-04; Ricky Walden (England) bt Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (Thailand) 4-3: 0-78 (78), 53 (53)-68 (62), 0-72 (68), 81(81)-0, 73-36, 78-0 (78), 91-47.

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