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Ricky Walden claims first Crucible victory

Updated: Sunday, 21 Apr 2013 11:46 | Comments

Ricky Walden  claimed a long overdue win at the Crucible
Ricky Walden claimed a long overdue win at the Crucible

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Ricky Walden claimed an overdue first victory at the Crucible as he polished off a 10-1 win over Michael Holt this morning.

The two-time ranking event winner led 8-1 overnight in his Betfair World Championship opener and, with the minimum of fuss, put Nottingham man Holt out of his misery.

Walden, who won the Shanghai Masters in 2008 and landed the Wuxi Classic at the start of this season, is making his third appearance at the World Championship this year.

He suffered first-round defeats in 2009 and 2011 but the 30-year-old Chester cueman was always in control against Holt, who won his only frame of the match after falling 6-0 behind to at least avoid a rare whitewash.

Walden said: "It's quite strange that I've won tournaments and been in the top 16 and not played here very often."

"I think my game suits these events. I've proved I can win trophies; it's just about settling down and getting comfortable" - Ricky Walden.

He left the Crucible in a state of torment two years ago after a sore defeat to Rory McLeod that Walden likened to a trip to the dentist, saying at the time it was "painful from start to finish".

"I drew Selby on my debut and we had a good game and he beat me 10-6, and then I had the famous game with Rory (McLeod) where I didn't play my best," Walden said.

"I probably had just one nightmare here and that was one I'd like to forget."

Asked if it continued to give him nightmares, Walden added: "Very much so, yeah."

Walden believes he can be a contender this year and reaching the second round has lifted his personal Crucible curse.

"It's nice to go out there and play how I can and get through," he said.

"I think my game suits these events. I've proved I can win trophies; it's just about settling down and getting comfortable. I don't feel the pressure from the crowd or venues, it's more from myself.

"If I went on a run that wouldn't come as a surprise to me."

Holt took his defeat in good humour.

"That went well," he said.

"It's easy for it to go sour out there. It's more of the same for me."

Holt has won only one match in six World Championship appearances now and that record understandably causes him frustration.

"I want to play out there. I can beat players, and I'm not scared," he said.

"I have spoken to sports psychologists. Unfortunately I'm quite switched on. I have thoughts.

"I wish I was daft - it's be a big asset for me."

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