Qualifier Anthony McGill set himself on course for a surprise semi-final win over Kyren Wilson at the Betfred World Championship as he took a 6-2 lead in the first session.
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Scotland’s McGill, who played 67 out of a possible 69 frames in three tight matches at the Crucible up to the quarter-finals, has looked the stronger player so far against Wilson.
McGill becomes the 57th player to compete in the one-table situation at snooker’s Theatre of Dreams
World number 39 McGill is looking to become the ninth player in Crucible history to reach the final having come through the qualifying rounds. He would be the lowest ranked finalist other than Shaun Murphy who was 48th in 2005, and Terry Griffiths who was unranked in 1979.
Eighth seed Wilson played superb snooker to beat Judd Trump in the quarter-finals, but the Kettering cueman has not got going so far in his second Crucible semi-final.
Breaks of 83 and 78 gave McGill the first two frames and he got the better of a safety battle on the green in the third to go 3-0 up. Wilson made a run of 50 as he pulled one back but McGill took frame five in two scoring visits for 4-1. Wilson had first chance in frame six but only made 32 and his opponent replied with 69 to extend his lead.
McGill had a golden chance to win the seventh from 45-0 behind but missed the blue to a centre pocket off the last red on 41, allowing Wilson to reduce his deficit. But McGill shrugged off that setback and took the last of the session with a 92, equalling his highest break of the tournament so far.
They resume at 10am on Friday for eight more frames. First to 17 goes through to the final to face Mark Selby or Ronnie O’Sullivan.