Neil Robertson joined Mark Selby and Judd Trump as surprise casualties on day four of the BetVictor Welsh Open as he lost 4-2 to world number 61 Gary Wilson.
Wallsend’s Wilson reached the quarter-finals of a ranking event for the first time with an impressive display against an out-of-sorts Robertson. He now meets Ben Woollaston with the chance to go even further at the £300,000 event in Cardiff.
Former world under-21 champion Wilson was 2-1 down but made a break of 81 to take frame four and then won the fifth in bizarre circumstances. Robertson, trailing 37-28, tried to play a thin safety shot on a red close to the black near a top corner, but missed it three times, thus losing the frame.
And Wilson secured victory in the next thanks to a break of 53.
“It’s definitely the best win of my career,” said 29-year-old Wilson. “I haven’t had much experience playing TV matches before so I’ve proved to myself that I can handle the big occasion.
“Neil wasn’t at his best tonight but I knew I had to play well to beat him. In the fifth frame I was surprised that he decided to play the same shot on the third attempt, but maybe the table drifted off slightly. After that I was just trying to avoid throwing the match away. I don’t see why I can’t win the tournament now.”
Wilson used to combine snooker with a job as a taxi driver but is now fully focussed on the sport he loves. “I had a good season last year which took a bit of pressure off me financially so I was able to give up the taxi driving,” he added. “Since then I haven’t been playing that well so it’s a pleasant surprise to have a good run here.”
Ricky Walden beat Stuart Bingham 4-2 with top breaks of 79 and 93.
“It was scrappy in parts, tough matchplay snooker,” said Walden. “I went in with the attitude that I was going to stick in there, no matter what. Stuart has beaten me a couple of times because I have played too open, so I was determined not to give him anything. I have only played at 20 per cent so far this week so I need to improve, but I’m still in there fighting.”
Walden has been suffering from a shoulder injury in recent weeks and added: “It’s tendon damage and if I play for long hours or if I try power shots, then it tightens up. I’m having physiotherapy and doing exercises every day so I need to keep that going until it gets better.”
Hong Kong’s Marco Fu ended the hopes of local favourite Matthew Stevens, coming from 2-1 down to win 4-2 with top breaks of 115 and 105.
Stephen Maguire saw off Alan McManus 4-0 with a top run of 54 and now faces another Scottish friend, John Higgins.
Friday’s quarter-final line-up:
John Higgins v Stephen Maguire
Followed by Mark Williams v Marco Fu
Luca Brecel v Ricky Walden
Gary Wilson v Ben Woollaston