Kyren Wilson and Ryan Day will face each other in the first round of the 2023 World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
This season for Kyren Wilson
It has been a strange 2022/23 season in many respects for Kyren Wilson, who represents the seventh seed in the draw this year.
Wilson started strongly with his success in the European Masters, and he has been back in form of late with appearances in the semi-finals and the final of the Players and Tour Championships respectively.
The period in between, however, was filled with inconsistent performances in which he regularly failed to go beyond the early rounds.
Wilson is a player often tipped as someone who could potentially capture the biggest titles the game has to offer.
The 31 year-old – a five-time ranking event winner – has frequently put himself into positions to do just that in recent seasons, but his failure to get over the winning line on the biggest occasions has been noticeable.
That trait resurfaced in his defeat to Shaun Murphy earlier this month in the Tour Championship final, adding to the doubts of whether or not he really has what it takes to go all the way in Sheffield.
This season for Ryan Day
Ryan Day benefited from the withdrawal of Scott Donaldson in the final round of the qualifiers, but the Welshman was already playing well.
After threatening an impending retirement upon his triumph over Ashley Hugill in the penultimate round, such was his disdain for how he had played, Day compiled a rare 146 total clearance in the first frame against Donaldson.
By the mid-session interval he was 4-0 in front, but suffering from uncontrollable tremors in his leg Donaldson was forced to concede.
On the face of it, it’s been a strong season for Day who featured in both the Players and Tour Championship late in the campaign.
But the sole reason for that was his success in the lucrative British Open in the first half of the season, and apart from that he has struggled for consistency.
Wilson and Day head-to-head
There have been 18 prior contests between Wilson and Day, and it’s the unseeded player who actually boasts the happier record.
Day has won 11 of those fixtures since they first crossed paths back in 2011, and eight times from 11 fixtures when not including the Championship League.
Their most recent tie was at the Champion of Champions invitational in November when the Welshman prevailed in a decider.
When the draw was made, the initial reaction was that maybe this would be a tough enough tie for Wilson but one he should emerge from without too much trouble.
But that head-to-head record has thrown a spanner into the works, and the Kettering cueist’s form has fluctuated a lot this season.
Day might be frustrated with his lack of performance, but it’s ridiculous for a player of his class to even contemplate retirement.
A big win or two on the Crucible stage will change his mind in a hurry.
Prediction: Ryan Day 10-9 Kyren Wilson
Wednesday, April 19th – 10am and 7pm
Featured photo credit: WST