Kyren Wilson earned his first Dafabet Masters win with a 6-4 victory over Barry Hawkins – helped by two huge slices of good fortune in the closing stages.
Wilson made his debut at Alexandra Palace last year and lost to Ding Junhui, but this time the 26-year-old was delighted to progress to the quarter-finals. He’ll face Mark Williams on Thursday evening (limited tickets still available – click here for details).
Talented Wilson won his first title at the 2015 Shanghai Masters and has since jumped to 14th in the world. Last week he admitted his frustration at taking more than two years to win his second piece of silverware and he’ll hope this could be the moment to end that drought.
Hawkins started strongly tonight with breaks of 131 and 120 in taking a 2-1 lead. Kettering’s Wilson hit back to take three of the next four frames, top scoring with 109 and 106, to lead 4-3. World number seven Hawkins, runner-up here two years ago, made an 85 to square the match.
In frame nine, Wilson led 38-5 when he went for a tough long red, missed it by several inches but fluked another red into a centre pocket. That set him up for a run of 29 to lead 5-4.
The tenth came down to a safety battle on the last red and fortune favoured Wilson again as he got out of a snooker when he trailed 49-26 and left his opponent trapped behind the green, with the red over a top corner. Hawkins couldn’t escape and Wilson seized the opportunity to finish the match.
“I was a lucky boy towards the end but I was pleased with the way I took the chance,” said Wilson. “I have had a few flukes against me this season and it is sickening. When you get a bit of luck you have to make it count.
“It was an enjoyable match which flowed well with a lot of big breaks. Barry started well and that kicked me into gear. I’m really pleased to get my first win here and excited for my next match. I came down to the venue yesterday and got used to the surroundings, which helped me prepare for tonight.
“Mark Williams has been playing well and he is a legend of the game but hopefully I can stop him on Thursday.”