Kyren Wilson became the first player to reach the quarter-finals of the World Championship after a hard-fought 13-10 victory over Stuart Bingham on Friday.
Wilson was never behind in the contest, numerously holding off Bingham’s attempts at a comeback before finally completing the job to book a second successive last eight spot in Sheffield.
The 2015 Shanghai Masters champion took advantage of Bingham’s early sloppy play to establish a 5-0 advantage before the latter salvaged the first session by claiming the last three frames to trail by only two frames.
The remaining two sessions produced a much more entertaining affair with big breaks, good safety, mistakes, and dramatic conclusions to frames offering plenty of drama and excitement at the Crucible.
Bingham five times got to within a single frame of his fellow Englishman but twice squandered golden opportunities to draw level at key junctures of the morning play.
Wilson emerged from the second session maintaining his two-frame advantage at 9-7 courtesy of stealing a pair of close frames on the black.
The 25 year-old extended his cushion upon the evening’s resumption but a superb 137 from Bingham, the highest of the tournament so far, helped him retrieve the situation to just 10-9 behind.
It proved to be the last time the 2015 world champion got so close, though, with Wilson steadying himself and taking three out of the next four frames to seal the triumph.
After a relatively forgettable campaign for Wilson, the Kettering cueist is ending it strongly and openly admits his ambitions to succeed on this occasion at the Crucible.
Wilson is considered by many as having one of the best temperaments in the game, which should stand him in good stead as the pressure cauldron intensifies in the days ahead.
Bingham will be disappointed to have missed the opportunity to advance further, and will be left to rue his awful start to the contest when he fell five frames behind.
The 40 year-old revealed after the defeat that he is to commence working with renowned coach Terry Griffiths, so he’s certainly already taking next season seriously as he bids to add more titles to his collection late in his career.
Wilson moves forward to face either John Higgins or Mark Allen, who partook in a barnstorming opening session of snooker on Friday afternoon.
Allen compiled a hat-trick of century breaks and added further runs of 82, 71, and 65 in establishing a 5-3 lead over the Scot, who also amassed scores of 70 and 54.
The Northern Irishman will perhaps be a little disappointed not to have boasted a greater margin of comfort after he botched a potentially massive clearance in the final frame to allow a relieved Higgins to keep the 31 year-old in sight.
Meanwhile, Ronnie O’Sullivan remains four frames clear of Shaun Murphy after a thoroughly entertaining session which swung one way and then the other.
Beginning 6-2 in front, O’Sullivan raced further clear to 9-3 at the mid-session interval, leading some to query whether the job might be done with a session to spare like in their previous clash at the Crucible in 2014.
However, Murphy responded wonderfully with three speedy contributions of 87, 84, and 73 to reduce the gap to only three.
The 2005 world champion had chances to unbelievably pull back to within only two frames overnight but a steely clearance from green to black from O’Sullivan just about kept his challenger at bay.
By contrast, China’s Ding Junhui wasn’t so fortunate as he squandered his own 6-2 lead against countryman Liang Wenbo.
Liang compiled five big breaks, including a 130 in which he missed the final pink as it looked certain he would set a quality benchmark for the high break prize, as he pulled back to only 9-7 down going into Saturday’s final session.
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