Snooker: Mixed feelings for Joel after Open defeat

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Hot prospect Joel Walker was left with mixed emotions following his quarter-final defeat to Ben Woollaston in the Antwerp Open.

The Sheffield potter narrowly missed out on a semi-final showdown with reigning world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan yesterday after losing 4-3 to Woollaston.

Nonetheless, it was the first time Walker had reached the last eight of a tournament since turning professional last year.

“I am pleased to have got so far but, at the same time, I am disappointed that I couldn’t have gone a bit further,” he told The Star. “It would have been nice to play Ronnie [O’Sullivan] again.”

Ranked 88 in the world, Walker saw off Alex Davies in round five of the seventh European Tour event of the season. He shared the opening four frames with Davies but a clearance of 60 in the fifth helped the Sheffield cueman over the line.

Breaks of 86, 64 and 40 led Walker to a comprehensive 4-0 triumph over Jamie Cope in the next round. The 19-year-old then thrashed Mark King, the world number 29, by the same scoreline.

Walker booked his quarter-final spot by seeing off Kurt Maflin 4-1 before Woollaston ended his challenge.

Sheffield-based cueman Ding Junhui lost 4-1 to Mark Selby in the quarter-finals. Selby edged out O’Sullivan four frames to three in the final last night.