Wilson eyes Williams after victory at the Palace

Kyren Wilson savoured his first Dafabet Masters win and then fired a warning shot to the rest of the field by declaring he is only going to get better.

Wednesday, 17th January 2018, 8:12 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th January 2018, 8:22 am
Kyren Wilson beat Barry Hawkins in the first round at Alexandra Palace. Picture courtesy of World Snooker

The Kettering ace showed guts to see off veteran Barry Hawkins at the Alexandra Palace 6-4 and book a last-eight tie with two-time winner Mark Williams.

It is the latest highlight in a promising season for the 26-year-old, who has reached two ranking event finals and climbed to 14 in the world.

And he insists there is much more to come as he plots his assault on snooker’s second biggest trophy and the £200,000 prize.

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“There is a long way to go with my game, I am not the finished article yet,” he said.

“I am very glad to get my first win here out of the way, it is one of those venues where if you get off to a bad start and lose a couple of first-round matches, which can happen, then it becomes a horrible place to play.

“But I enjoyed it out there and am looking forward to my next game. I feel like I am knocking on the door at the top, which is nice because if I was bombing out in the early rounds then I would be worried.”

Hawkins began the match in style by firing in a superb 131 in the opening frame but Wilson, making just his second appearance at the Alexandra Palace, responded with a break of 56 in the second.

Hawkins was clearly in good touch as he made 120 to win the third but in a high-quality match Wilson took the initiative and won three of the next four frames with two centuries of his own.

Now 38, Hawkins is a seasoned campaigner and knows how to handle pressure and he got level at 4-4 with an expert 85.

But luck favoured Wilson, with a fluked red in the ninth allowing him to a frame clear again but he won the match in the next when he accidentally put Hawkins in a snooker he could not escape from.

“I am quite a lucky boy to be honest,” he said.

“It is just snooker for you, I am sure Barry has had a few go for him and against him but the pleasing thing for me was that I was able to hold myself together at the end.

“It was a very good match with a lot of heavy breaks. The match seemed to flow nicely from the off, Barry started with a century and I felt like that kicked me into gear.

“It will be a tough game against Mark now. Mark has a new lease of life and he is getting to the later stages now.

“He is one of the legends of the game but let’s hope it ends for him on Thursday.”

Watch the London Masters LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Neil Robertson, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.