Kyren Wilson
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‘I was robbed of the experience in 2020’ – Kyren Wilson excited for ‘buzz’ of Crucible final

Kyren Wilson will contest his second World Snooker Championship final after beating David Gilbert in the last four on Saturday in Sheffield.

An entertaining encounter saw both players produce a high standard for large spells of their clash at the Crucible Theatre.

The English pair couldn’t be separated after the first 16 frames, trading sizeable contributions to leave the scores all-square at 8-8.

But Wilson, a runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan at the 2020 World Championship that was played mostly behind closed doors, began to ascertain his dominance during the third session.

The 12th seed reeled off five frames on the spin to lead 14-9, which proved to be the pivotal period of the showdown.

Gilbert won the last frame of the penultimate session and the first frame of Saturday afternoon’s last session to give himself hope of a fight back.

But Wilson managed to win the remaining three frames to move again to within one victory of a maiden world crown.

“I thought Dave was cueing the ball really sweet,” Kettering’s Kyren Wilson told the World Snooker Tour.

“Especially the first two sessions, I think it was one frame each. It was counter punch after counter punch.”

“I just felt like I had to keep mentally strong. I didn’t feel like I was totally at the races to be honest, but I think that’s a testament to my mental strength.

“I didn’t panic, I kept myself solid in my chair. That allowed me to go on and produce some good snooker when I needed to.

“I felt like Dave was struggling last night for whatever reason. It’s a long old format, and not to forget that Dave’s been through some qualifying matches.

“At some point it’s going to hit you. It’s such a long event to conquer. I was obviously coming into it a little bit fresher.

“Maybe the way I’ve gone through – I know Dave beat Luca [Brecel] 10-9 – I haven’t had a decider as of yet, so maybe a little bit of freshness pulled me through that.

“I feel like I was robbed of (the atmosphere) in the 2020 final through the COVID pandemic.

“I was robbed of the experience of experiencing the Crucible with a packed-out crowd, having that buzz.

“I can’t wait, it’s something I’ve dreamed of doing. I’m very grateful that I’m in a position that I can experience that again.

“You get a good hiding off players like Ronnie O’Sullivan or John Higgins and it can go one of two ways.

“I’ve decided to try and learn from them and become a better all-round player. I don’t panic like I probably used to back then.

“If it wasn’t quite going right for me, I might have shown a little bit of emotion. Now I don’t really do that.

“It just allows me to release the shackles from time to time and just produce the snooker I know I’m capable of.”

Wilson had come into the 2024 World Championship with not much form having failed to reach the final of any event this season.

But with a proven track record of performing well in Sheffield, the 32 year-old has peaked at just the right time.

“The Crucible is a different animal. You can go into this tournament with no form whatsoever, or you can go into it with so much form and it doesn’t quite happen.”

“We’ve seen that from many players in the past. Ronnie had a year out, came back here and went on to win it.

“It just shows you that you can peak at the right times. I decided to do something different this year, I went out to Portugal with the family and had an eight-day break.

“And I purposely allowed two weeks bang-on as prep into this year’s World Championships. I felt like I came in a little bit fresher.

“Maybe a few players have got stale – Ronnie and Judd out in particular, and Mark Allen (all) having such good seasons.

“There’s only so much you can sustain throughout the year, so perhaps that’s held me in good stead for this year’s Worlds.”

In the final, Kyren Wilson awaits the winner of the second semi-final fixture between Stuart Bingham and Jak Jones.

Heading into their concluding session on Saturday evening, the latter leads the 2015 world champion 13-10.

2024 World Snooker Championship Draw

Round 1 (bo19)

Luca Brecel (1) 9-10 David Gilbert
Robert Milkins (16) 10-9 Pang Junxu
Ali Carter (9) 7-10 Stephen Maguire
Shaun Murphy (8) 10-5 Lyu Haotian

Mark Selby (5) 6-10 Joe O’Connor
Kyren Wilson (12) 10-1 Dominic Dale
John Higgins (13) 10-6 Jamie Jones
Mark Allen (4) 10-6 Robbie Williams

Judd Trump (3) 10-5 Hossein Vafaei
Tom Ford (14) 10-6 Ricky Walden
Zhang Anda (11) 4-10 Jak Jones
Mark Williams (6) 9-10 Si Jiahui

Ding Junhui (7) 9-10 Jack Lisowski
Gary Wilson (10) 5-10 Stuart Bingham
Barry Hawkins (15) 8-10 Ryan Day
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) 10-1 Jackson Page

Round 2 (bo25)

David Gilbert 13-4 Robert Milkins (16)
Stephen Maguire 13-9 Shaun Murphy (8)

Joe O’Connor 6-13 Kyren Wilson (12)
John Higgins (13) 13-12 Mark Allen (4)

Judd Trump (3) 13-7 Tom Ford (14)
Jak Jones 13-9 Si Jiahui

Jack Lisowski 11-13 Stuart Bingham
Ryan Day 7-13 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Quarter-Finals (bo25)

David Gilbert 13-8 Stephen Maguire
Kyren Wilson (12) 13-8 John Higgins (13)

Judd Trump (3) 9-13 Jak Jones
Stuart Bingham 13-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Semi-Finals (bo33)

David Gilbert 11-17 Kyren Wilson (12)
Jak Jones 17-12 Stuart Bingham

Final (bo35)

Kyren Wilson (12) 18-14 Jak Jones

Click here for the latest live scores and session times.

Featured photo credit: WST

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