Kyren Wilson emphatically reached his first Betway UK Championship quarter-final after a 6-2 defeat of world number six Barry Hawkins.
In fact, prior to this week, Wilson had never been beyond the last 32 here in York. However, the 26-year-old has enjoyed the best calendar year of his career so far in 2018.
The Warrior was runner-up to Mark Allen at the Masters, appeared in the World Championship semi-finals and has picked up silverware at the Paul Hunter Classic and Six Red World Championship. He will be hoping to cap off a golden 12 months with a maiden Triple Crown title this week.
Hawkins established the early advantage this evening after making a contribution of 87 to take the opener. However, that was the only time he would lead for the remainder of the tie, as his opponent turned on the style.
Breaks of 69 and 49 helped Wilson into a 2-1 lead, before a century run of 102 from Hawkins saw him restore parity at the mid-session.
When they returned Wilson stormed to victory with a clean sweep of frames. Breaks of 95, 78, 81 and 61 allowed him to win four on the bounce and secure the impressive 6-2 victory. He will now face 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham in the last eight.
“It was nip and tuck up until the interval and It looked like it was going to be really close. Once play got back underway I just thought I needed to stay positive,” said Wilson. “If I got into a bit of a tactical safety battle he might have outplayed me. He gave me a chance in the fifth frame and I felt like from there I really had to punish him. After that I had the momentum.
“It will be a clash of the top 16 against Stuart in the quarter-finals. Nowadays that isn’t always the case at this point in an event, as the standard is so strong and people you wouldn’t expect to get this far are creeping into the latter stages.
“Stuart is a very good player and I always enjoy matches with him. He attacks, goes for his shots and scores quite quickly. It is always an enjoyable match and I will look forward to it.”
Bingham defeated Thailand’s Sunny Akani 6-2 to set up his quarter-final showdown with Wilson.
His victory ensures he will compete in the UK Championship last eight for the sixth time. Thailand’s Akani bows out at the last 16 stage for the second consecutive year, after he lost out 6-5 in a memorable clash with Ronnie O’Sullivan 12 months ago.
Bingham top scored in this afternoon’s clash with a run of 117. His last eight meeting with Wilson will take place tomorrow evening at 7pm.