The Kettering potter booked his place in the final at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on Saturday afternoon, toppling the five-time world champion in a 6-5 thriller after late breaks of 64 and 59 sealed a remarkable turnaround.
O’Sullivan had raced into an early 3-1 lead at the interval, but the world No.8’s late onslaught was enough to reach the final of a ranking event for the first time in over a year.
And Wilson, who started his week with a maximum 147 break and will face either Shaun Murphy or Yan Bingtao on Sunday, says it was the maturity gained from past defeats against O’Sullivan - where he has lost in two deciding frames - that got him over the line.
“I was in the moment during that last frame and playing every ball as it was coming,” he said.
“I think in the past I’ve checked the scoreboard and calculated what I needed to do to get over the line.
“But today I just focused on potting the balls that were in front of me, and before I knew it I was close to the line, and that’s probably why you saw a bit of emotion from me.
“It was 100 per cent a case of me feeling more relaxed and mature today after those two defeats - it wasn’t just on those two occasions against Ronnie in the past I’ve been looking at the scoreboard, as I’ve done it in other matches.”
A third-frame break of 94 from Wilson was not enough to prevent the 36-time ranking event winner heading into the break with a 3-1 advantage, but efforts of 69, 52 and 136 soon after - with O’Sullivan crafting a 125 of his own - restored parity with three frames to play.
The two players then traded blows of 81 and 64 to tee up a tantalising decider, before Wilson held his nerve with a fine 59 to keep his hopes of a first ranking trophy since February 2019 alive.
And while Wilson knows the job in the Welsh capital is far from complete, he says beating a player of O’Sullivan’s calibre does make the victory even more special.
“If you can win titles and go through the best players in the world to do it, it makes it all the more sweeter, and Ronnie is the best player to ever play the game,” he added.
“It’s a lovely feeling and I’m having a great week - to make the final off the back of the start of the week with a 147 has made it really enjoyable, and I’m really enjoying my snooker at the minute.”
Watch the Welsh Open live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds