Walker sets his sights on top-64 spot

Sheffield's Joel Walker.

Sheffield's Joel Walker.

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Joel Walker hopes to cash in at the Coral UK Championship in his atempt to break into the world’s top 64 snooker players.

The 20-year-old from Sheffield will today meet world No 9 Stuart Bingham in the third round at the Barbican in York. He already has a two-year Tour card, and the world No 105 is hoping to climb the rankings.

Walker will pocket £9,000 whatever tonight’s result – prize winnings equate to ranking points – and he insists he will not be nervous in front of the BBC cameras.

“I have only played one TV game before and that was against Ding Junhui in the Welsh Open quarter-finals last season,” said Walker.

“I loved every minute of it, played really well, and Ding had to make back-to-back centuries to beat me.

“That’s what you play snooker for, to be in the main arena and on TV. I can’t wait.”

He beat Tom Ford 6-3 in his second-round match on Sunday having beaten former Masters champion Alan McManus in his opening contest.

Tonight, Walker faces Bingham, 38, a former Australian Open champion and winner of this season’s Shanghai Masters.

Walker said: “I have played Stuart twice and they have both ended up in deciders. I have beaten him before, but he’s a top player and won ranking events, and will be a tough game.”

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