RICKY Walden insists he has all the tools needed to go far at the World Championship after breaking his Crucible duck.
The Chester-born potter, 30, quickly claimed the two frames he needed in Sunday’s second session to seal a 10-1 win over qualifier Michael Holt and set up a potential second-round showdown against 2010 champion and world number two Neil Robertson.
Shaun Murphy, the 2005 champion, stated on the eve of the big Sheffield event that his friend Walden was in great form after the pair practised together – something the 14th seed admits gave him a massive boost.
“Now I’m over that first hurdle, I absolutely think I can go out and do something,” said Walden, whose previous two trips to the Crucible ended in first-round exits.
“My game suits these kinds of things. I’ve proven I can win tournaments.
“It’s about settling down and getting comfortable and not putting myself under too much pressure. I don’t feel the pressure from the crowd, venues or TV cameras, it comes from myself.
“I know how well I can play and it’s about getting myself in the next round. If I can get on a run, then it wouldn’t surprise me.
“I went to have two days with Shaun over at his place. When you’re testing yourself against the top players, which he is, then you’re coming out confident you can go out and perform.
“If it is Robertson, then he’s a great player, a champion and he’s won here before. It would be a very tough game, but I know if I keep my game in good shape, then I’ve got a good chance.”
With a ranking tournament victory – at July’s Wuxi Classic – already under his belt this season, Walden capitalised on a Holt mistake in the second frame and never looked back, storming into an 8-1 overnight lead on Saturday.
The world number 13 said: “I started well, settled down and got a few rubs but I feel I played the better stuff out there which is shown by the scoreline.
“Whoever you’re playing in this situation or this venue, you’ve just got to get off to the best possible start and put the pressure on.
“I put it on and I knew that would give me the advantage.
“It’s quite strange that I’ve won tournaments and been in the (top) 16 but haven’t been here too many times.
“I’ve had some tough draws in qualifying and when I have played here, I’ve had some tough games.”
Walden’s last-16 clash, against Robertson or world number 19 Robert Milkins, will get under way on Sunday (10am).
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