Anthony McGill: Behind The Shot

Wilson Targets Top 16

Kyren WilsonKyren Wilson is determined to continue his rapid rise up snooker’s ranking list and gain a top 16 place in time for the World Championship.

Wilson started the season 56th in the world but has now climbed to 19th, having captured his first ranking title at the Shanghai Masters in September.

And he is 18th on the projected list which will come into effect when the World Championship seeding axe falls after the China Open, which finishes on April 3rd. The top 16 will then get an automatic spot at the Crucible, with all other players needing to win three matches in the qualifying rounds at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.

“It’s very close between me and the two players just ahead of me, Stephen Maguire and Liang Wenbo, there is less than £1,000 between us,” said Kettering’s 24-year-old Wilson, nicknamed The Warrior. “It looks like it’s going to be a very close race and there are three big events left now. Anyone behind who wins one of those events can jump ahead into the top 16.”

Next week in Llandudno, Wilson will be competing in the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix and faces Jamie Jones in his opening match on Wednesday evening.

He has also qualified for the Ladbrokes Players Championship in Manchester later in March, thanks to a run to the semi-finals of the last qualifying event in Poland last weekend.

“That was so important for me because I’m guaranteed another £4,000 for the Players Championship and it means I’ve got three events left before the World Championship, rather than two,” said Wilson. “Stephen Maguire hasn’t made it to Manchester so it will be chance for me to catch him.

Kyren Wilson“I don’t want it to go down to one match at the China Open. If I can win a tournament before then I won’t have to worry about it. If I did have to qualify it would be very tough and I think it would be hard for someone to win three best of 19 matches and then do well at the Crucible, because it takes a lot out of you.

“Last year I lost in the first round against Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon. There is so much strength in depth on the tour now that nearly every draw is tough. It’s our biggest event and everyone wants to get to the Crucible so it’s very intense. The year before that I made it to the Crucible and having got a taste of it I would love to be back this time.

“A year ago I was on the borderline of the top 64 and in danger of losing my tour card. That brought a lot more pressure than being on the fringes of the top 16 so I am not as worried now. This season has been a whirlwind for me in terms of the progress I have made. I feel my game has always been there, it was a case of proving it. Only three years ago I was off the tour so if I could get into the top 16 in that short space of time it would be a great achievement.”

The Ladbrokes World Grand Prix runs from March 8 to 13 at Venue Cymru in Llanduno. Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy and Stuart Bingham will be among the top stars competing for the £100,000 top prize.

Tickets for the tournament are STILL ON SALE and fans are advised to book fast as sessions will sell out now that the draw and format have been released. Tickets start at just £10, for details call 01492 872 000 or CLICK HERE