Kyren Wilson came through a topsy-turvy final encounter with David Gilbert at the Tempodrom to claim the German Masters title for the first time in his career last Sunday.
The 27-year-old star had been superb all week in Berlin, although he had to open his account with a hard-fought 5-3 victory against tour stalwart Rory McLeod in the last 32, managing to string together the last three frames.
He faced another experienced campaigner in the last 16 – and a familiar one at that – when he dispatched Peter Ebdon 5-2. The former world champion shares the same practice facilities that he does at Barratts Snooker Club in Northampton.
Wilson then enjoyed dominant back-to-back performances in the quarters and semi-finals; whitewashing defending champion Mark Williams 5-0 and then halting a resurgent Stephen Maguire 6-1 amid the iconic one-table set-up.
His opponent in the final was fellow Englishman Gilbert, who would have also been very pleased with his results during his time in Germany. In consecutive sessions on the Friday, the Tamworth cueist recorded a memorable brace of results when eliminating career triple crown winners Mark Selby, 5-4, and then Neil Robertson, 5-3.
The story of the week up until the last 4 was Duane Jones. The unheralded world number 90 had probably exceeded expectations even qualifying for the event, but at the main venue he continued his run stunning top 16 members Jack Lisowski and Ding Junhui, as well as Chinese youngster Yuan Sijun.
Jones took the opening frame against Gilbert in the semis too, but that was as good as it got with Gilbert handling the pressure as the favourite to advance as a comfortable 6-1 victor.
Having never been past the final 32 of a ranking event before, and with the £20,000 he earned easily representing the biggest payday of his career so far, it was still a very good week for Wales’ Jones.
Wilson started the final as the fancied prospect and he began well taking an initial 4-1 lead. He added another frame before the first session finished to hold a 5-3 profit going into the evening’s conclusion.
On resumption, though, it was Gilbert who produced a perfect response, chalking up four frames in a row to turn the tables and take the front at 7-5.
However, as we often see, the mid-session interval switched momentum. Wilson closed the gap with frame 13 before mustering an incredible counter-attacking clearance of 54 in the next to draw the tie level at 7 all.
Perhaps riding the positive energy, Wilson pocketed the next two to complete the job and emerge as the champion with a 9-7 result. He is the eighth different winner from the last eight years.
For Wilson, this success equates as his third career ranking title following wins at the 2015 Shanghai Masters and the Paul Hunter Classic last summer. With the PHC being in Furth, he becomes the fourth player to have won both of Germany’s biggest two snooker events, but the first to have won them both in the same campaign.
As well as securing the ‘Deutschland Double’ this season, Wilson also won the invitational World 6-Red Championship in Thailand during September.
Despite these early season triumphs, this week’s glory has got him back on track after narrowly – and maybe bitterly – losing to Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Champion of Champions final and going out first round to Judd Trump at the Masters in recent months.
One of the sport’s hottest properties, the £80,000 top prize also pushes Wilson up to eight in the world rankings.
Gilbert may have felt immediate disappointment at losing his third career ranking final, but he can feel proud looking back at his displays in Berlin. Many believe he is a top 16 player in waiting and the next new champion on the circuit; evidence from this season would suggest those permutations are likely.
The World number one’s form has been a massive talking point among fans but he was back to his very best today and will take some serious stopping if he continues in this mood.
Talented Chinese player Xiao Guodong was also in red hot form today as he made back to back centuries on route to a 5-1 victory against the In form Ryan Day. Xiao hasn’t had the best of seasons but this performance will surely give him supreme confidence going into the last 16.
Stuart Bingham cruised into the last 16 with a 5-2 victory over Jimmy Robertson. English open champion Bingham raced into a 3-0 lead with breaks of 54 and 130, but after the interval Robertson found his feet and stroked in breaks of 90 and 51 to cut the deficit to 4-2. Frame 7 saw Robertson miss a great chance to move within one frame of Bingham and that miss price to be fatal as the former World champion swooped in with a break of 49 to clinch victory.
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