Kyren Wilson completed a fightback from 6-1 down to beat Barry Hawkins 13-11 and reach the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship.
The high quality encounter saw the pair fire in nine centuries between them, with Wilson contributing five and Hawkins compiling four. That is second only to Ding Junhui and Alan McManus’ 2016 semi-final, where they made ten centuries – the most ever in a single match at the Crucible.f
27-year-old Wilson is now through to his fourth consecutive Crucible quarter-final, where he will face David Gilbert, who beat defending champion Mark Williams. The Warrior reached the one-table semi-finals for the first time in 2018. His superb run was ended by John Higgins on that occasion, as he succumbed to a valiant 17-13 defeat against the four-time World Champion.
Wilson has enjoyed one of his best seasons on the World Snooker Tour. The world number eight has picked up two ranking titles in a season for the first time. He earned silverware by coming from 2-0 down to defeat former mentor and 2002 World Champion Peter Ebdon 4-2 in the final of the Paul Hunter Classic. The Kettering potter was also victorious at the German Masters, beating David Gilbert 9-7 to lift the trophy in front of 2,500 fans at Berlin’s Tempodrom.
Crucible specialist Hawkins misses out on reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in seven years. The Londoner made the world final in 2013, losing to Ronnie O’Sullivan, and has won more matches at snooker’s Theatre of Dreams than any other player since that year.
Wilson claimed yesterday evening’s session to cut Hawkins’ advantage to 9-7. It didn’t take long for the Warrior to wipe out the Hawk’s remaining two-frame cushion this afternoon. He took the first two of the session to draw level for the first time since the start of the match at 9-9.
However, three-time ranking event winner Hawkins moved to the front once again in the following frame, compiling a run of 64 to go 10-9 up. Wilson then ensured parity at the mid-session interval with a break of 84.
Wilson had looked in position to edge into the lead, before breaking down on a contribution of 43. That allowed Hawkins to step in and counter with a break of 69 to regain the lead at 11-10
Fortunes were reversed in the following frame. Hawkins was in first, before misjudging a plant to the bottom corner on 41. Wilson stepped in and made a sublime clearance of 81 to make it 11-11.
From that moment Wilson ruthlessly charged to the line. He made consecutive century breaks of 125 and 132 to clinch a superb win.
Wilson said: “Towards the end I was able to reel off the frames very comfortably, and scored very heavily. I’ve worked really hard for this event. This is where you put in the time practising for, you rely on it and it comes out. Obviously it’s very pleasing for me that I managed to play well at the key part of the match.
“I always feel like I bring my best game to the Crucible. I usually start off quite slow. It’s one of those venues where you just need to ease your way into it. I played some very good snooker yesterday evening and today. My form is starting to rise and that is what you have to do if you want to try and go all the way in the tournament.
“It’s going to be a very tough game against David Gilbert. He’s probably one of the best cueists on the tour and he’s fantastic to watch. We had a good game in the German Masters final earlier this season and I’m sure another one is in store. He’s beaten the defending champion and looked good in doing it.”
Hawkins said: “The session yesterday evening cost me. The way I started I felt great, but last night it disappeared. That sums up my season, up one minute and down the next. I’m a bit disappointed but he finished the match off brilliantly at the end there.”