Kettering's Kyren comes through a classic to advance at the Crucible

Kettering’s Kyren Wilson got his Betfred World Championship campaign up and running with a 10-8 win over Ding Junhui in the best match of the tournament so far.

Thursday, 21st April 2022, 7:26 am
Kyren Wilson acknowledges the Crucible crowd after his 10-8 win over Ding Junhui in the Betfred World Championship. Picture courtesy of World Snooker

Wilson trailed 3-0 early on yesterday (Wednesday) but battled back to clinch a fine victory, which sets up a second-round encounter with Stuart Bingham at the Cruicible.

Wilson has been among the most consistent performers on the Crucible stage in recent seasons and he and Ding served up a thriller, which included five centuries and 12 breaks of over 50.

World number five Wilson saw his name pulled out of the hat against three-time UK Champion Ding when the random draw was made last week, but approached a difficult task with a positive attitude and reaped the rewards of an excellent performance.

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Kyren Wilson in action during his win over Ding Junhui. Picture courtesy of George Wood/Getty Images

“It was awesome, I loved every minute of it,” the 30-year-old said.

“When you’re both scoring well and feeding off each other, it’s going to produce good snooker. I felt like it was fast, attacking, flowing – a great match.

“Some players wouldn’t have wanted to draw Ding in the first round.

"You can’t view it that way. I knew I’d have to play well and if I won it would set me up for the rest this tournament. That’s the way I viewed it and I’ve come out on top.”

Wilson’s game has been sharp for most of this season – only Neil Robertson has made more centuries – but he hasn’t added to his collection of trophies, although he is in the hunt to claim the trophy he craves the most.

With Wilson trailing 5-4 after the morning session, the opening frame of the concluding session came down to a long safety battle on the colours, and Wilson made a fine clearance from green to black to level the match at 5-5.

The next four frames were shared, with high scoring from both players, as Ding fired runs of 96 and 122 while Wilson replied with 85 and 99.

Wilson’s 126, the 40th century of the tournament, put him ahead for the first time at 8-7.

Looking to continue his momentum in frame 16, Wilson made 22 before missing a red to a centre pocket and Ding punished him with a 117 clearance.

In the 17th, Ding had a chance to clear from 65-0 down, and got to the final pink before missing a mid-range pot to a top corner.

There was more pain for the Chinese ace as, attempting safety, he went in-off the pink, handing Wilson a 9-8 lead.A run of 62 gave Wilson control of frame 18, and Ding’s chance to counter ended when he missed a difficult pink to centre with one red left.