Kyren Wilson reached the semi-finals of a ranking event for the first time with a shock 5-4 win over China’s Ding Junhui at the Bank of Communications OTO Shanghai Masters,
In an epic match which finished at 12.30am, world number 54 Wilson cleared from brown to black in a dramatic final frame to clinch the biggest win of his career. He now meets Mark Allen on Saturday for a place in the final.
Kettering’s 23-year-old Wilson had appeared in the quarter-finals of a ranking event just once before, and that was at the same tournament two years ago. Ding’s army of fans in his homeland may have expected the 11-time ranking event winner to continue his progress, but his opponent produced a gritty display and dealt with the pressure at the business end.
Wilson made a break of 89 in the opening frame and led 3-1 at the interval. World number three Ding recovered to 3-3 with runs of 62 and 87. Wilson regained the lead with an 84 then Ding’s 63 forced the decider. Ding looked firm favourite when he led 48-0, but Wilson clawed his way back to take it to the colours, and eventually cleared the last four balls.
“Ding’s a top player and it’s absolutely amazing to beat him out here. I really don’t know how I did it in the end,” said Wilson. “I showed a bit of emotion at the end because I’m so happy to get through. I had to get off to a good start and at the interval I knew I had him a bit nervous. He came back at me but I made a good break at 3-3 under pressure.”
Allen’s last ranking title came at the 2013 World Open
Last year’s runner-up Allen beat Mark Davis 5-1. Northern Ireland’s Allen lost 10-3 to Stuart Bingham in the 2014 final, and also lost the International Championship final to Ricky Walden. This time the 29-year-old will be determined to go all the way to his third ranking title and the £85,000 top prize. Allen will face Ding Junhui or Kyren Wilson in the semis on Saturday.
He won the first frame against Sussex’s Davis with a 33 clearance then added a scrappy second for 2-0. Davis won the third on a respotted black and he led 50-0 in the third, but Allen battled his way back into the frame and eventually cleared from blue to black for 3-1. That proved crucial as world number ten Allen won the next with a run of 88 then secured victory in frame six by clearing from yellow to pink.
“Conditions were tough today and I didn’t play very well,” admitted Allen. “I’m looking forward to the one table set up and I’ll need to play a lot better. As long as I’m still in the tournament I have a chance of winning. If I can play my best I have no one to fear.”