RICKY Walden is celebrating winning his first title of the season.
The Chester-born world number nine has endured a slow start to the 2013-14 campaign, but he was back to his brilliant best at the Bluebell Wood Open.
Walden won seven straight matches at the European Tour event in Yorkshire to net the ï¿½20,000 top prize.
But the 30-year-old admitted he was indebted to fortune in his final encounter at the Doncaster Dome.
Walden got the ball rolling with a 4-1 opening-round win over Passakorn Suwannawat.
He then swept aside world number 18 Allister Carter 4-1, world number 28 Ryan Day 4-0 and then David Gilbert 4-2 to reach the quarter-finals where he edged out world number 10 Mark Allen 4-3.
A semi-final showdown with world number four Shaun Murphy followed.
Murphy, the 2005 world champion, was no match for his great friend as he was beaten 4-1.
Walden’s opponent in the final was Marco Fu.
The former Flint High School student won a scrappy first frame before his Hong Kong-born opponent levelled with an excellent break of 113.
Walden regained the lead with a run of 44 and went two frames up with a well-constructed 73.
But Fu fought back, winning a drawn-out fifth frame before firing in a decisive break of 54 in the sixth.
The seventh and deciding frame lasted 39 minutes and at one stage looked to be going the way of the world number 13 after he went 38-2 in front.
But after Walden ‘got lucky’ with a long red that ended up in the centre pocket, he cleared the table with a stunning break of 65 to take the match.
Walden said: “I got lucky in the end with the fluke.
“I feared the worst when it went 3-3 and I was just hoping for one chance.
“It’s my first win in a European Tour event and hopefully I can win more this season.”