Walker sets his sights on top-64 spot

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

Sheffield's Joel Walker.

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.

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“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.”