Kyren Wilson
Kyren Wilson is aiming to win his first Triple Crown event in York
Venue: York Barbican Dates: 23 November – 5 December Coverage: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and app
BBC coverage times, schedule and results

Kyren Wilson reached the semi-finals of the UK Championship for the first time with a thrilling 6-5 victory over seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Wilson, 29, made three half-century breaks and two centuries in a high-quality contest between the two highest ranked players left in the tournament.

A repeat of the 2020 World Championship final had seen O’Sullivan fight back from 2-0 and 5-3 down to level at 5-5.

World number five Wilson will face Luca Brecel on Saturday.

‘The Belgian Bullet’ continued where he left off in his comprehensive victories over Stephen Maguire and Anthony Hamilton to reach the last four with a 6-2 win over Scotland’s world number 15, Anthony McGill.

And there are signs that the 26-year-old is beginning to realise the potential he exhibited both as a junior and in becoming the first player from mainland Europe to win a ranking event in 2017.

Brecel raced into a 3-0 lead and rarely looked like relinquishing control of the match – making four half-centuries on his way to victory.

Wilson holds his nerve

Wilson – who is yet to win one of snooker’s Triple Crown events, having previously been a runner-up at both the Masters (2018) and to O’Sullivan at the Crucible – will go into his match against Brecel as the clear favourite.

“Luca is a fantastic young talent. He won big in China a few years ago and we all probably expected him to kick on. I look forward to that game,” Wilson told BBC Sport.

Wilson showcased his prolific break-building skills early on against O’Sullivan, winning both of the first two frames at one visit, with runs of 92 and 117.

O’Sullivan responded in style, taking the next frame and then levelling the match at 2-2 with a sublime break of 115.

The players then traded frames – Wilson going back in front with a break of 66, and O’Sullivan responding with a 76 to level. But Wilson regained control with a composed break of 71, and then took the eighth frame as well to go two clear.

However, the tension increased, amid several stoppages in play as fans came in and out of the auditorium, plus an O’Sullivan complaint over background movement.

That appeared to work in the six-time world champion’s favour as he made breaks of 64 and 83 to set up a final-frame decider.

But Wilson, who had twice had an unfortunate run of the balls after splitting the reds at 5-3 and 5-4, reacted impeccably to register a composed break of 102 and record only his third win over O’Sullivan.

“It was one of those [matches] where you feel the snooker gods don’t forgive you and I probably should have won 6-3. Then things started to turn and I thought I had missed the boat,” Wilson said.

“I backed myself under pressure. I have let a couple slip with Ronnie, so it was nice to get that under my belt.”


Six-time world champion Steve Davis on BBC Two:

“Kyren Wilson was delighted with himself. He withstood the pressure and the disappointments of going into the pack and not being on a red. He is able to win major events and is slowly going up the ladder.

“If he wins the World Championship, the UK Championship or the Masters, I don’t think anyone would be surprised.”

Shaun Murphy, 2005 world champion:

“Both of the players put in stellar performances. But I think I have got that as one the best performances in Kyren Wilson’s career. He has won multiple events and has established himself as a contender every time he brings his cue to the table.

“What he did today and the way he did it – standing up to the barrage that Ronnie O’Sullivan gave him at the end there – is one of the best we have seen.”

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Source: BBC

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