Kettering's Kyren makes progress at Covid-hit Masters

Kyren Wilson enjoyed a comfortable first-round win in Milton Keynes

By Jon Dunham
Monday, 11th January 2021, 7:24 am
Updated Monday, 11th January 2021, 7:30 am
Kyren Wilson eased to a 6-2 win over Gary Wilson in the first round of the Masters after his original opponent Jack Lisowski tested positive for Covid-19. Picture courtesy of World Snooker Tour
Kyren Wilson eased to a 6-2 win over Gary Wilson in the first round of the Masters after his original opponent Jack Lisowski tested positive for Covid-19. Picture courtesy of World Snooker Tour

Kyren Wilson believes Judd Trump will ‘regret’ his festive holiday to Dubai after the world No.1 tested positive for coronavirus and was forced to withdraw from the Masters.

The Kettering snooker star beat Gary Wilson 6-2 in his first round match but the tournament was dealt a massive blow on Saturday when world No.1 Trump, and world No.14 Jack Lisowski, tested positive for the virus.

Gary Wilson and Joe Perry were called up as late replacements and Northamptonshire player Wilson, the world No.5, easily disposed of his world No.20 namesake.

Trump travelled to the Middle East over the Christmas period and Wilson, who beat his rival on the way to last year’s Crucible final, reckons the 20-time ranking event winner made a mistake.

Asked if he would have done the same as Trump, the 29-year-old said: “Definitely not.

“Especially not in current times. I wouldn’t take that risk.

“Everybody likes to do different things. He’s obviously a young lad without a family or kids, so I can understand the frustrations.

“For me, I was happily grounded at home with my kids, my wife and my mum, dad and brother.

“It’s just different lives – I couldn’t really comment on what he feels like he needs to do. In hindsight, he may well regret it, but we all make mistakes.

“Sometimes a little break away or holiday to get yourself away from the zone that snooker puts you in can be a good thing. It’s just what works for the individual.

He added: “I had it in my mind, Gary’s inexperience at the Masters, and sometimes when you settle into a match here you realise the enormity of the event.

“I wanted to keep him under pressure right from the off. I felt quite settled at the interval and kicked on from there. I’m heading in the right direction.”

Trump, 31, and Lisowski were the only two positive results out of all players and officials who were tested ahead of the event at the behind closed doors Marshall Arena.

North-east player Wilson had been in Milton Keynes competing at the Championship League but was blown away by the four-time ranking event winner on the Buckinghamshire baize.

The world No.5 crafted fluent breaks of 136, 108, 83 and 65 and despite some early resistance from the 2019 World Championship semi-finalist, proved too hot to handle.

Wilson lost in the final of the prestigious tournament against Mark Allen in 2018 and his wait for a maiden Triple Crown – World Championship, UK Championship and Masters – title still goes on.

The 2020 Championship League winner lost to Ronnie O’Sullivan in last year’s Crucible final and has reached the last eight of the UK Championship on two occasions.

The absence of Trump this week opens the door for Wilson, with the world No.1 in red-hot form having already soared to a hat-trick of titles this season.

Wilson is determined to break his Triple Crown duck and admits even with the planet’s best player not around, a maiden major title would feel just as special.

Asked if Trump’s absence would dilute his joy at winning the Masters, Wilson added: “I don’t really care.

“In 20 years time, if I’ve won this title and people say ‘Kyren Wilson Masters champion 2021’, that’s all I care about. I don’t care who’s in it – it really doesn’t matter to me.

“This is one of the ones you obviously want on your CV before you end your career.

“I don’t think any past results will chKyange that desire – I just give it my all every time I’m in this event.

“Every tournament success means a hell of a lot to me. I put a lot of time in and make a lot of sacrifices, and when you take the trophy home it makes it all worthwhile.”

Wilson will now play David Gilbert in the quarter-finals of the tournament on Thursday afternoon.

Watch the London Masters live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from Jan 10