Kyren Wilson to challenge Mark Allen for the Masters title
Judd Trump had led 5-2 but Wilson pulled off a comeback.
Kyren Wilson will take on Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen for the Dafabet Masters title after stunning Judd Trump with a spectacular comeback at Alexandra Palace.
The 26-year-old Englishman will be chasing the biggest title of his career on Sunday, and his first Triple Crown event victory.
World number three Trump led 5-2, but Wilson turned the match around, forcing a decider with a 107 break.
Later on Saturday, Allen – who had knocked out six-time Masters champion and holder Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals – came through 6-3 against John Higgins, the world number five.
During the afternoon match at Alexandra Palace, Wilson took the all-important 11th frame with a run of 72 against pre-match favourite Trump to secure a memorable 6-5 win.
The world number 14, who coasted past twice former Masters winner Mark Williams 6-1 in their quarter-final, looked to be heading out as Trump took control with four half-century breaks to move within one frame of victory.
The road to the final!— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker1) January 20, 2018
It's @pistol147 and @KyrenWilson in the final of the 2018 @dafabet Masters, and what a week we've had!
Who's your favourite for the title tomorrow? 🏆 #dafabetmasters pic.twitter.com/wwdos3FBVN
Wilson, though, took inspiration from the late Paul Hunter – winner of the Masters title three times between 2001 and 2004 when it was played at Wembley Conference Centre – to produce a stirring recovery.
Hunter, who died shortly before his 28th birthday in October 2006, was famous for his Masters fightbacks.
Wilson came up with one of his own, which could yet see him go on to lift the Paul Hunter Trophy on Sunday.
“People keep calling me ‘The Warrior’ and I thought to myself, ‘I haven’t won a comeback in years, I’m going to stick in there and, this venue, funny things can happen here’,” Wilson said on BBC Two.
“The late, great Paul Hunter made some awesome comebacks and I was thinking of him a little bit and trying to draw a little bit of inspiration from some of the comebacks he made and I just managed to stick in there.”
Wilson felt he had been given an opportunity to spark a fightback after Trump “took a liberty” with a pot attempt when appearing well set to close out victory.
“It let me settle and I just needed one frame to get my arm going from 5-2 down to get back into the match,” Wilson added.
“I just thought to myself, ‘Right, I am going to go for it now’, and when opportunities came I thought I just had to start taking them, whether taking a risk or not.
“I just started to grow in confidence and find my game.”
Mark Allen beats John Higgins to reach the final of the @dafabet Masters for the first time, where he faces @KyrenWilson for the title and £200,000 top prize! 👊— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker1) January 20, 2018
WHAT a final we have in store tomorrow! 🏆#dafabetmasters pic.twitter.com/8k5jcCl2Ir
Saturday’s late match was another high-quality encounter.
Both players produced some impressive breaks during the opening exchanges, with a clearance of 131 landing Scotland’s Higgins the fifth as he reduced the deficit to 3-2.
Allen, though, responded with two half-century runs to move within a frame of the final.
A break of 127 gave Higgins, a two-time Masters champion, hope of extending the contest into the evening, but Allen produced another accomplished break of 75 to take his place in Sunday’s final.
He said in his post-match television interview: “It (reaching the final) is good, but I came here to win the tournament.”