Kyren claims a much-needed victory

Kyren Wilson

Kyren Wilson

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Kyren Wilson laid down a marker in his English Open first-round victory over Wayne Townsend, with the man himself admitting it’s a performance he badly needed.

The 24-year-old has enjoyed a triumphant 12 months but suffered a rare blip in with a first-round exit in the European Masters qualifiers just a fortnight ago.

However, breaks of 91 and 103 set Wilson on his way against amateur Townsend, closing out a confidence-boosting 4-0 victory on Monday afternoon at EventCity, Manchester.

“It was important in more ways than one to get off to that winning start,” said Wilson.

“Anyone can beat anyone, especially in the first round, so I’m very happy to be in that second round, the tournament gets more exciting from there and that’s where you want to be.

“It’s difficult to play on TV for the first time as it was for Wayne, and from my point of view when you have a number of clear-cut chances it can become easy to let concentration slip.

“I don’t think I missed anything particularly easy, but I took control when I needed to after the first two frames, did what I needed to do after stamping my authority early.

“It’s always nice to make a century, especially on TV, and with that following up a 91 it settled me down quickly, not just in the match but in the tournament too.”

It’s been just over a year since Wilson, now ranked 16th in the world, shocked the snooker scene by winning the Shanghai Masters as world No.54, beating Judd Trump in the final.

He has since proved it was far from a fluke victory, reaching the final in India earlier this year, and now prepares for a second-round match against either Alfie Burden or Daniel Wells.

“It’s been an unbelievable 12 months, the support I’ve been getting has been really unexpected,” he added.

“When you’re playing, you’re in that little bubble, but when you get home you realise just how many people are watching and supporting and my life’s changed a huge amount.

“I’m very excited about the Home Nations, it’s nice to have more tournaments in the UK, we’re doing a lot of travelling so to be able to drive down the road is perfect. The setup in Manchester is brilliant, too.”

Watch the English Open LIVE on Eurosport 1 and Quest, featuring daily studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.