Snooker: Red-hot Walker out to stun World No 3

Joel Walker is through to the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open.
Joel Walker is through to the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open.

Teen ace Joel Walker is relishing the prospect of playing world number three Ding Junhui in the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open after recording the biggest victory of his career.

The 19-year-old, who turned professional in 2012, faces Sheffield-based cueman Ding at noon today after defeating Stephen Maguire, the defending champion, yesterday. Walker ground out a 4-3 win at the Newport Centre despite failing to compile a single 50-plus break.

Maguire, ranked eight in the standings, said on Wednesday night he did not know who the Sheffield youngster was. The Scot certainly does now.

It is the first time Walker, who has also knocked out Pankaj Advani, Mark Davis and James Wattana in the event, has reached the last eight of the world ranking tournament.

“It is definitely the best win of my career to date,” he told The Star. “I played a pretty solid match.

“Stephen has won a number of ranking events and got through to the semi-finals of the worlds so it gives me a big confidence boost beating him.

“It will be tough against Ding as he has been of the most consistent players this season but I am just going to enjoy it.