He beat Peter Ebdon by 4-2, from 0-2 down, in the Final.
Kyren Wilson ended a three-year wait to win his second ranking title by beating Peter Ebdon 4-2 in the final of the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany.
Kettering’s 26-year-old Wilson came from 2-0 down to take the last four frames of the final and claim the £20,000 top prize in Fürth. He moves up one place to eighth in the world rankings and books a place at the Champion of Champions event in November.
Wilson won his first ranking title at the 2015 Shanghai Masters and had several near misses in pursuit of his second. He lost ranking finals at the 2016 Indian Open, 2017 World Open and 2017 English Open, and was also runner-up at the invitational Masters earlier this year, when he broke down in tears after defeat against Mark Allen.
But Wilson has now got his hands on another piece of silverware, having won seven matches over the weekend. In both the quarter and semi-finals he was a few balls away from defeat, but edged 4-3 wins over Daniel Wells and Peter Lines.
Ebdon, aiming to become the second oldest ever winner of a ranking event at the age of 47, took the first two frames of the final with a top break of 66. Wilson crucially took the third by potting the last pink and black, then made a 120 for 2-2. He got the better of a scrappy fifth frame , then made 68 and 57 in the sixth to cross the winning line.
Victory over Ebdon was poignant for Wilson as the pair first met 20 years ago at a charity pool event. After losing a frame against the six-year-old boy, former World Champion Ebdon suggested to Wilson’s parents that their son had a rare talent and should give snooker a try. The two have remained friends ever since.
Ebdon, playing in his first ranking final since 2012, missed the chance to win a tenth title. The £10,000 runner-up prize sees him climb five places up the rankings to 51st.
Wilson said: “It was always going to be a tough final against Peter. He’s a class act and I’d rather have played someone else in the final because usually I want him to win. But I’m chuffed to get the second ranking title on my CV. Your career is all based on what you have won, not how many finals you have been in. I’ve had a strong start to the season and I need to keep building.
“This tournament holds fond memories for me because it was the first overseas one I travelled to as a young kid. I’m delighted to get my name on the trophy.”
Kyren had to beat another veteran, Peter Lines, 48 years old in the semi finals. The match went to a decider. Had Peter been the winner, we could have had a final between a 48 years old and a 47 years old, only one day from turning 48. Probably the oldest combination of age in a ranking final if it had happened.
The Paul Hunter Classic this year had a particularly depleted field, and, for what we could see on the streaming, and also confirmed by fans on site, a weaker audience than usual. No doubt, the combination of a full calendar and low prize money explains why most top players gave it a miss. There were only three top 16 players in the draw, Shaun Murphy who lost in the first round, Luca Brecel who went out in the last 32, and, of course, Kyren Wilson the eventual winner. For me, the future of this event is very much in doubt and it’s a crying shame as it’s a great event and the German fans are very enthusiastic. I have said this already, but, to me, the close association between snooker and betting isn’t helping when it comes to finding big sponsors in mainland Europe. Also, I’m not sure about some of the promoters marketing decisions. I’m not sure how it was this year, but last year fans had to pay extra money for the right to sit at table 1, the main table. As a result, with ten tables to choose from, table 1 remained almost unattended during the first two days. It doesn’t look good on streaming – hence it’s not appealing to potential sponsors – and it’s not great for the players who play there, including the defending champion. Even during the final last year, there were more people watching from afar, than people actually sitting at the table. And judging by the number of empty seats that could be seen on the stream this year, my guess is that it was the same again.
There were 47 amateurs in the first round, and one who deserves a mention is Ben Mertens, 13 years old from Belgium, who won two qualifying matches before beating professional Adam Stefanow in the last 128! Ben, remember, also reached the pro stage, in both halves of the draw, at the Pink Ribbon, some four weeks ago.
There were two 147 made on the first day as well: one by Michael Georgiou, in the last 128, and one by Jamie Jones, in the last 64. Unfortunately neither was on a streamed table. Neither player went past the last 64, but both pocketed more money overall than the runner-up! There was £20000 for a maximum, as much as the winner’s prize money. No wonder then that players were going for it.
And today we wish a very happy birthday to yesterday’s runner-up … and all time Vegan Power Champion Peter Ebdon who just turned 48.