BAIZE WATCH Ep 11: World Championship Special

Gilbert Into Third Ranking Final

David Gilbert ended the run of outsider Duane Jones at the D88.com German Masters, winning 6-1 in the semi-finals to boost his hopes of winning his first ranking title.

After a nervy start, Gilbert pulled away to win comfortably and set up a final with either Kyren Wilson or Stephen Maguire on Sunday in Berlin. The world number 19 from Tamworth has lost both of his previous ranking finals, to John Higgins at the 2015 International Championship, and a narrow 10-9 defeat against Mark Williams at this season’s Yushan World Open. The 37-year-old will hope it’s third time lucky as he plays in a final outside China for the first time.

Gilbert is already guaranteed £35,000 and has now won £157,000 this season, but the talented cueman will be more concerned about getting a first title under his belt in tomorrow’s Tempodrom showdown.

World number 90 Jones has enjoyed the best week of his snooker career, having never previous been beyond the last 32 of a ranking event, but the form which saw him knock out Ding Junhui in the quarter-finals deserted him today. He finishes the week with £20,000 but his hopes of qualifying for next week’s Coral World Grand Prix are now over, instead it’s Gary Wilson who hangs on to the 32nd and last spot for the tournament in Cheltenham (for more on that click here).

Welshman Jones started well today, taking the first frame with breaks of 31 and 39. Gilbert got the better of a  scrappy second, then Jones had a chance to win the third but missed the final yellow to a baulk corner when trailing 40-54, and the error was compounded as the cue ball went in-off. Gilbert took advantage to lead 2-1.

That proved a turning point as Gilbert stepped up a gear, making breaks of 66, 105 and 52 to lead 5-1. Frame seven came down to the colours and Jones had a chance to clear but missed a tricky final pink. A safety exchange ended when Gilbert slotted the pink into a top corner for victory.

“It was a struggle for both of us early on, neither of us have experienced that kind of fantastic atmosphere,” said Gilbert, who knocked out both Mark Selby and Neil Robertson yesterday. “We wanted to try to put a show on and play proper snooker. But for me it was just about getting to six frames. I have had experience of playing in semi-finals before.  I was prepared to be useless, it didn’t bother me. In snooker there are so many ups and downs, matches can go either way and I have seen them go the wrong way before.

“I will try to get some sleep now because last night was the worst I’ve ever had. I was so knackered after playing two matches but it’s weird when you are that tired you can’t switch off. Hopefully I’ll be ready for tomorrow.”

All pictures by O.Behrendt / contrast