China up next as rising star Kyren’s whirlwind spell continues

Kettering's Kyren Wilson is getting ready to play in the China Open next week
Kettering's Kyren Wilson is getting ready to play in the China Open next week

It’s been quite a month or so for Kettering snooker star Kyren Wilson.

The 23-year-old flies out to Beijing tomorrow (Friday) to begin his preparations for the China Open, in which he takes on world number 19 Mark Davis in the first round on Monday.

Wilson qualified for the ranking event in the middle of last month, just hours after his partner Sophie had given birth to their first child Finley.

Since then, the rising star has been mixing fatherhood with ensuring his name becomes more familiar with snooker fans across the world.

Wilson reached the semi-finals of the Snooker Shootout, the one-frame timed format, in front of a live televised audience and left a lasting impression on the crowd in Blackpool.

And that was followed by impressive victories over Alan McManus and Ben Woollaston as he reached the last 16 of the Indian Open before being edged out by Joe Perry.

China is the next destination for Wilson before he takes part in the qualifying stages for the World Championships next month as he bids to make a second appearance at the Crucible after making his debut last year.

And he is hoping for a better run in the far east than 12 months ago when he suffered a first-round exit.

“I am looking forward to it,” Wilson said.

“I didn’t do too well out there last year but that experience stood me in good stead for the World Championship qualifiers that followed.

“But I certainly don’t want another first-round exit.

“It’s a tough draw against Mark Davis but if I can get through then I could play Ding Junhui in his home country, although he has Marcus Campbell which will be hard as well.

“It has been a decent few weeks for me. It’s nice to have a bit of form.

“The Snooker Shootout has been running for three or four years and as soon as it was introduced I was gagging to get into it.

“I am a natural fast player, although I do play a bit slower in the ranking events. I always see the shot quite quickly so I knew it would suit me.

“I probably had a bit too much fun in the semi-final but everyone seemed to think that I got my personality across quite well. I really enjoyed it.

“Then I had a tough draw in India, given that a number of the top players weren’t out there.

“I had Alan McManus and then Ben Woollaston who are both ranked in the low 20s and then Joe Perry who was one of the highest-ranked players there.

“It was great to get two wins and I just missed out against Joe.”

Wilson has had a break of all of a week and a half since India before heading to China.

That has meant precious hours with his young family and he admits it’s tough to leave them once again.

He added: “I have felt like a part-time dad! But I am doing the best I can.

“It has been difficult because he is so young but my partner Sophie has been brilliant looking after him.

“I have had to say goodbye to them again as I am going to Beijing.

“But he is a little bundle of joy at the moment and it’s tough having to be away from them.”