Kyren keeps knocking out the greats

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He has already knocked Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams out of the Coral Northern Ireland Open, but Kyren Wilson is adamant he cannot get complacent in his bid for the Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins trophy.

The Kettering cueman had already been on top form in Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre, but took his game to another level to get the better of Mark Williams 5-4 and reach the semi-finals.

It was as tight a game as the scoreline suggested, both players enjoying sterling form, with each of the first seven frames boasting 50+ breaks.

But with Mark Allen and Barry Hawkins – both ranked higher than Wilson at No.15 – still left in the draw, Wilson knows there is plenty more work to do if he is to reach Sunday’s final.

“I’m not going to get complacent. Whoever I play will have had to do excellently to reach the last four, so it’s all about doing what I’ve done every day,” he said,

“I want to start stocking up the trophy cabinet, you have to seize your opportunities when you get to this stage of the tournament but it’s not easy when you’re playing top, top players.

“I need to keep focused. When you beat someone like Ronnie people put that expectation on you, and Mark was probably a tougher game."

It was Wilson who drew first blood in exemplary style with a break of 58, though Williams fought back with efforts of 86 and 68.

The two continued to exchange blows in the nine-frame encounter, and it seemed a rare mistake would determine the outcome as Wilson missed a far from straightforward blue, on match ball, allowing Williams to take the game to a deciding frame.

But the same colour was to then haunt the Welshman, the cue ball kicking at the wrong moment and allowing Wilson to clear up and reach the last four.

“It wasn’t the best of ways to win the match with Mark having the kick, but sometimes you have to take these strokes of fortune and run with it,” Wilson added.

“I should have finished it at 5-3, I should’ve stunned that blue but I’ll learn from that sort of shot.

“But I was always confident, you have to be, I still felt good in my game and it wasn’t a terrible shot by any stretch so I still felt okay mentally."

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