Walden victorious in Chengdu
Ricky Walden continued his love affair with China as he won the International Championship in Chengdu, beating Mark Allen 10-7 in the final.
It was the Chester player's third ranking title, all in China after winning the 2008 Shanghai Masters and 2012 Wuxi Classic.
It capped a fine week for Walden, who hammered Robert Milkins 9-2 in his semi-final after previous wins over Lyu Chenwei, David Morris, Zhou Yuelong and giant-killers Joe Swail and Jamie Burnett, who had beaten Neil Robertson and Judd Trump respectively.
Breaks of 59 and 64 helped him into a 3-1 lead at the interval in the first session but Allen levelled after a 113 break in frame six.
The next four were shared, Allen with a 52 in frame nine, and though Walden moved two clear with the help of an 85 break in frame 12 Allen responded with 68 and 74 to leave the match poised at 7-7.
The Englishman found another gear, though, with an 85 in frame 15 followed by a 103 to move within one frame of victory.
And he clinched the frame in two visits, a 54 putting him on top before a 62 saw him capture the £125,000 first prize. Runner-up Allen collected £65,000 towards his world ranking.
Walden said: "I couldn't be happier. It was a tough first session today, and then I got better in the second session.
"It's a dream come true to win this event. All three of my titles have come in China and I love playing here."
He told worldsnooker.com: "I've not thought about the money. It was just so important for me to get my hands on the trophy. The money is just a bonus. My wife will find a good place for it."
For Allen, who overcame Mark Williams 9-8 in a thrilling semi-final, it was a third defeat in four ranking finals this season. He won the Paul Hunter Classic in Furth but was beaten at the Riga Open and Shanghai Masters.
He said: "I didn't come here to finish second. I'll probably look back in a few months' time and think I've had a great start to the season but I've lost three out of four finals and that's not good enough. It's something I have to work on.
"I need to go back to the practice table and keep working. I'm obviously doing the right things as I have got to four finals. I just need to turn them into victories."