Hard work pays off as Kyren advances at the Crucible

Kyren Wilson beat David Grace 10-6 in the first round of the Betfred World Championship
Kyren Wilson beat David Grace 10-6 in the first round of the Betfred World Championship

Kyren Wilson assured followers he has left no stone unturned in his Betfred World Championship preparations after beginning his bid to lift the trophy with a 10-6 victory over qualifier David Grace.

The Kettering potter reached the quarter-finals at the Crucible last year on just his second appearance, and is a seeded player at the tournament for the first time. Wilson led 5-4 after Saturday’s opening session and the first-round tie continued to be nip and tuck until Grace struck the only century of the match in frame 13 to pull it back to 7-6.

That, however, only served to inspire Wilson into some of his very best snooker as he made 93 on his way to three straight frames to seal his spot in the second round.

The 14th-seed resumes his Crucible campaign against either Peter Ebdon or Stuart Bingham, both former world champions, on Thursday.

And the 25-year-old admitted it was a big relief to avoid a repeat of his 2014 first-round exit at the World Championships.

“I have been working very hard on my game, on my mental strength, my fitness, everything,” Wilson revealed.

“I felt like there’s nothing I haven’t done to try and give myself the extra five per cent.

“It’s good to see the rewards coming in now. On my debut I was a bit like the rabbit in the headlights, then last year I put some of those thoughts to bed, I felt a lot more comfortable.

“I think being seeded is something I have found difficult this year to deal with, going from the hunter to the hunted, so it’s nice to get that first-round match out the way.

“It was a little bit scrappy in places, but that was maybe to be expected as it’s David’s debut and I have only been here three years myself, I am really pleased to get over the line.

“I felt I really stepped it up a gear at the end, the last three or four frames, I really took control and that was very pleasing.”

Watch the Snooker World Championship Live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player, with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds