It's advantage Kyren in the World semi-final

Kettering's Kyren Wilson received high praise from the legendary Ronnie O'Sullivan for his performance in the first session against Shaun Murphy

Friday, 30th April 2021, 6:39 am
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 6:42 am
Kettering's Kyren Wilson holds a 6-2 lead over Shaun Murphy, who grew up in Irthlingborough, going into the second session of their World Championship semi-final this afternoon. Picture courtesy of Getty Images

Kyren Wilson produced one of the best sessions of his career to romp into an emphatic 6-2 lead in his Betfred World Snooker Championship semi-final.

The Kettering star has been in great form in the Crucible but took that to another level against the unfortunate Shaun Murphy with a staggering three centuries and two fifties in the opening eight frames of the match.

The best-of-33 nature of the semi-finals means there’s a long way to go in the match but Wilson’s form not only makes him favourite for the match, but perhaps a lead candidate for his first World Championship crown.

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Kyren Wilson was in sparkling form in the first session of the semi-final at the Crucible

“This is the best I’ve seen Kyren play,” said Eurosport pundit and six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

“He’s stamped his authority on the game, he’s playing some great snooker.

“He hasn’t looked like making a mistake. If he continues like this, I think it could be his year.”

O’Sullivan was the man who ended Wilson’s dream in the final last year but the Kettering cueman appears hellbent on avoiding a repeat.

It didn’t necessarily go his way early on, 2005 world champion Murphy, who grew up in Irthlingborough, reeling off a break of 74 to begin the match in good form before his opponent levelled up.

But Wilson, who had already beaten three tough opponents in Gary Wilson, Barry Hawkins and former champion Neil Robertson, was only just getting started.

Breaks of 110 and 72 took him into the mid-session interval with momentum well and truly behind him, perhaps pondering if the pause in play had come at the wrong time.

But not even 15 minutes out of the arena could halt his dominance in Sheffield, reeling off three century breaks in four frames thanks to further efforts of 127 and 121.

O’Sullivan added: “I’ve never seen Kyren play eight frames of snooker like that. He’s obviously been working hard on his break-building over the years.

“He played flawless snooker, he looked like he was bossing the game. A good young player will always beat a good old player but you’ve got to produce the good.

“You’re looking for these young players, but until they produce the goods like that, you’re not going to win, it’s all potential.”

To his credit, Murphy responded in the seventh frame with a half-century to give himself a shot when they resume for the second session this afternoon (Friday).

Wilson will take some stopping on this form. But he’d have been somewhat relieved to take the eighth and final frame, with Murphy missing the opportunity to narrow the deficit to 5-3, instead trailing 6-2.

The other semi-final was equally dramatic with both Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham winning three frames in a row to be locked at 4-4 following the first session.

The pair will continue their best-of-33 match today with the two semi-final winners battling it out for the title across Sunday and Monday.

Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17- May 3