Snooker: Walker blames bad luck after quarter-final loss

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Highly-rated potter Joel Walker was left cursing his luck after a narrow defeat to Ding Junhui in the last eight of the Welsh Open.

Walker acquitted himself well in his first ranking quarter-final, surging into a 4-2 advantage in the best of nine match thanks to clearances of 78, 74 and 101.

But Sheffield-based cueman Ding is in a rich vein of form, having won four ranking events this year, and the world number three reeled off breaks of 52, 139 and 104 to set up a semi final meeting with either Joe Perry or Mark Selby today.

Sheffield youngster Walker told The Star: “I was worried after losing the first frame that things were going to go a bit pear-shaped but I settled down and did myself justice. I showed quite a lot of nerve and bottle considering it was my TV debut and I should have won. I got a bit of bad luck when I was 4-2 up. I had one really good chance in the seventh frame but I went into the pack and finished hampered. I had a couple of half chances after that but kept landing awkward.

“After that frame, Ding played some good safety, forced chances and he took them. I didn’t really do a lot wrong. Ding showed why he is world class in the last two frames. It is fine margins at the top.”

Ding, who practices at the Star Snooker Academy, said: “Joel is playing well. I feel very sad for him. Everybody wants to win and I hope he keeps getting better because he is also from Sheffield. I will practise with him. He is a good player.”