RICKY Walden’s love affair with the Far East has continued this week.
The Chester-born 26-year-old is through to the last 16 of the China Open after sweeping aside Cao Kaisheng and Joe Perry.
The comprehensive victories mean the world number 35 has now won eight consecutive matches in China this season after storming to the first ranking title of his career at the Shanghai Masters in October.
“I’m delighted,” said Walden, who will face the legendary Stephen Hendry or outsider Robert Milkins in the second round this afternoon.
“I like travelling and the Chinese audience are great to play in front of. A lot of players don’t like the travel but I enjoy getting on a plane.”
Walden, whose bid to seal his place in Premier League Snooker was ended last week by teenage sensation Judd Trump, hammered local lad Kaisheng 5-0 in Monday’s wild card round, knocking in breaks of 105, 96, 90, 75 and 50.
Walden, up to 23 in the provisional rankings, then beat world number 12 Perry 5-2 on Tuesday, the highlight being his stunning first-frame break of 140.