27 february 2021 publish date

Wilson won the quarter finals on the eighth attempt. QF Players Championship 2021

After losing seven consecutive quarter-finals matches this season, Kyren Wilson broke that sequence in fine style with a 6-2 win over Neil Robertson at the Cazoo Players Championship.

Wilson already has one title to his name this season having won the BetVictor Championship League, but given his consistency he feels he could have landed more silverware. He has now broken that quarter-final stumbling block and will go into his next match with John Higgins or Mark Selby on Saturday night brimming with confidence, after a superb display against Robertson.

World number five Wilson made two centuries and three more breaks over 50 as he beat Robertson for the second time in four attempts.

Kettering’s Wilson took the opening frame with a break of 130, then Robertson had the chance to clear from 54-26 down in frame two, but wobbled the final black in the jaws of a top corner. Wilson clipped in the black for 2-0 and added the next in two scoring visits.

Wilson might have gone 4-0 ahead had he not missed a short-range green along the baulk cushion late in frame four. World number three Robertson got one on the board then appeared to have the momentum as he fired a 101 to close to 3-2. But Wilson proved the stronger player in the closing stages as he made 95 and 126 to stretch his lead to 5-2.

In frame eight he potted ten reds with blacks, and though the 147 attempt ended when the 11th red stayed out of a centre pocket, he had done enough to book a semi-final spot.

image

“I was really strong today, my scoring was good, I was aggressive form the start and took the game to Neil,” said 29-year-old Wilson. “When he starts stomping around the table and gets his wonderful cue action working, he is hard to stop. I had to regroup at 3-2. I took on a risky red in the sixth frame, potted it and made 95, that was the key moment for me. I’m just a bit disappointed not to make the maximum in last frame.

“It’s hard to break runs like losing all those quarter-finals. I have played the top three or four players in the world in most of those matches and just come up short. I have just kept believing and doing the right things.

“I’m still motivated on the end goal which is to win the Players Championship. For the next two days I’ll be on the practice table. Everyone at this event is very sharp. Mark Selby or John Higgins will be a very tough opponent, I can see their game going 6-5 either way.”

Australia’s Robertson, who has won just one match since landing the Betway UK Championship title in December, said: “There were a few shots which rattled and stayed in the jaws like the black in the second frame, I hit it well but it stayed out. There were other long reds which rattled and didn’t go in. I felt just as good in the balls as I did in my first match. But Kyren played a brilliant match and if he carries on like that he can win the title. He’s got the belief and desire, he’s not scared of anyone.”

John Higgins described his performance as the best of his career as he beat Mark Selby 6-0 in the quarter-finals of the Cazoo Players Championship.

image

Selby scored just seven points in the match – the lowest ever tally in a best-of-11 frame professional contest. The former world number one potted just three balls as he lost 6-0 for the first time since the 2015 UK Championship, and suffered his first ever whitewash against Higgins in a ranking event.

In fact Selby made no more than a handful of mistakes, but was demolished by one of snooker’s all-time greats at the peak of his powers. Higgins has been a pro for 29 years and won 30 ranking events including four world titles, but admits he has never been happier with his game.

The 45-year-old Scot is yet to conceded a frame in Milton Keynes this week, having beaten Jordan Brown 6-0 in first round. His next opponent is Kyren Wilson on Saturday evening.

Higgins hasn’t captured a ranking title since the 2018 Welsh Open but is now just two wins away from ending that drought and taking the £125,000 top prize. Today’s result is also crucial to his hopes of qualifying for next month’s Cazoo Tour Championship as he now moves into the top eight of the one-year ranking list.

Breaks of 60, 70 and 63 gave Higgins the first three frames today as his opponent failed to scored a point. Selby had a rare scoring chance in frame four but potted just a red and blue before running out of position, and Higgins took it for 4-0.

The interval changed nothing as Higgins compiled a run of 100 to extend his lead. Selby potted the first red of frame six but didn’t finish on a colour, and Higgins won it with breaks of 49 and 60. The Wizard of Wishaw finished the match with a  97% pot success rate and a points aggregate of 546-7 in his favour.

image

“It’s the best I have ever played or ever felt,” said Higgins. “Doing it against someone like Mark is incredible. I have felt good about my game since the turn of the year. I lost to Yan Bingtao in the Masters final, then I had Covid and missed the German Masters, but I played well at the Welsh Open so I came here in good spirits.

“It would mean a lot to win the event but it means more to me that I’m hitting the ball well and feeling confident. Over the last couple of years I have been scratching about at some tournaments, not sure where my next win was coming from. Now I’m putting myself in positions to win and hopefully it will open up for me.

“I’ve got the utmost respect for Kyren Wilson in terms of the way he plays the game and goes about his career. He reminds of me of Mark Selby because he gives everything to the game and wants to keep on learning. He’s going to be around for years winning titles. I wish I was young like that, it would be brilliant to be involved at that age with so many big events now. Obviously I’m at the end of my career just hanging on.”

Selby said: “I’ve never had a match where I I had so few chances. John froze me out from start to finish, he played an incredible match.”

The article is based on WST.TV