White Shocks Walden in Wuxi

Jimmy White produced a competent performance to pull off his best television victory in years at the Wuxi Classic in China.

The Whirlwind was always in control against defending champion Ricky Walden and eventually completed an impressive 5-2 triumph to march into the last 32.

The 51 year-old recorded four breaks above 50 and two further important 40+ breaks to set up a clash with either Robert Milkins or John Astley.

Should he play Milkins, it will be an immediate opportunity for the Londoner to gain revenge for his final qualifying round defeat at the recent World Championship at the tail end of last season.

White has been in much better form already this season as he seems buoyed by that run he had at the Worlds following what was otherwise a bitterly disappointing campaign.

The change to the format this year will arguably work in his favour as he benefits from both kinder draws and the prospect of catching top 16 players cold in the early rounds.

Either way, just like with Steve Davis, it is remarkable that the six-time Crucible finalist still has what it takes to mix it, albeit only occasionally, with the current crop of elite players.

Two other veterans went head to head yesterday as Alan McManus continued the form that saw him reach the semi-finals of the Asian PTC event in Yixing last week to overcome Ireland’s Ken Doherty 5-3.

The encounter didn’t appear to be a classic, finishing well after all the other clashes in that session had been completed, but the Scot will be happy to keep his run going.

Someone else who has shown great pedigree in the last couple of months is Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng.

The 34 year-old surprised everyone with his eccentric style of beating Stephen Maguire in Sheffield last April and has since won eight of his opening nine matches during this season – the latest a confident 5-1 drubbing of fellow spaceman Dominic Dale.

Elsewhere, the last 64 has been kind to the home contingent so far with Ding Junhui, Cao Yupeng and 15 year-old Lu Haotian all progressing, but Yu Delu went down 5-2 to 2012 runner-up Stuart Bingham.

Hong Kong’s Marco Fu also made the Chinese crowd happy having come through a 5-2 winner against Nigel Bond.

The rest of those who have advanced into the second round so far have all been English.

Martin Gould and Mark King recorded respective 5-3 successes over Kurt Maflin and Rory McLeod while champion in Yixing Joe Perry and 19 year-old Joel Walker both won 5-2.

Today, the first round comes to a conclusion with the likes of John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and Barry Hawkins in action.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here

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