As I have been traveling for most of the I didn’t see much, so here are the reports on Worldsnooker:
After a nervy start, Gilbert pulled away to win comfortably and set up a final with either Kyren Wilson or Stephen Maguire on Sunday in Berlin. The world number 19 from Tamworth has lost both of his previous ranking finals, to John Higgins at the 2015 International Championship, and a narrow 10-9 defeat against Mark Williams at this season’s Yushan World Open. The 37-year-old will hope it’s third time lucky as he plays in a final outside China for the first time.
Gilbert is already guaranteed £35,000 and has now won £157,000 this season, but the talented cueman will be more concerned about getting a first title under his belt in tomorrow’s Tempodrom showdown.
World number 90 Jones has enjoyed the best week of his snooker career, having never previous been beyond the last 32 of a ranking event, but the form which saw him knock out Ding Junhui in the quarter-finals deserted him today. He finishes the week with £20,000 but his hopes of qualifying for next week’s Coral World Grand Prix are now over, instead it’s Gary Wilson who hangs on to the 32nd and last spot for the tournament in Cheltenham (for more on that click here).
Welshman Jones started well today, taking the first frame with breaks of 31 and 39. Gilbert got the better of a scrappy second, then Jones had a chance to win the third but missed the final yellow to a baulk corner when trailing 40-54, and the error was compounded as the cue ball went in-off. Gilbert took advantage to lead 2-1.
That proved a turning point as Gilbert stepped up a gear, making breaks of 66, 105 and 52 to lead 5-1. Frame seven came down to the colours and Jones had a chance to clear but missed a tricky final pink. A safety exchange ended when Gilbert slotted the pink into a top corner for victory.
“It was a struggle for both of us early on, neither of us have experienced that kind of fantastic atmosphere,” said Gilbert, who knocked out both Mark Selby and Neil Robertson yesterday. “We wanted to try to put a show on and play proper snooker. But for me it was just about getting to six frames. I have had experience of playing in semi-finals before. I was prepared to be useless, it didn’t bother me. In snooker there are so many ups and downs, matches can go either way and I have seen them go the wrong way before.
“I will try to get some sleep now because last night was the worst I’ve ever had. I was so knackered after playing two matches but it’s weird when you are that tired you can’t switch off. Hopefully I’ll be ready for tomorrow.”
All pictures by O.Behrendt / contrast
Wilson will be aiming for his third ranking title, and second of the season, when he faces Gilbert over 17 frames at the Tempodrom in Berlin on Sunday. The trophy and a top prize of £80,000 awaits the winner.
It has been a superb season so far for Kettering’s 27-year-old Wilson; he has won the Paul Hunter Classic and invitational Six Red World Championship as well as reaching the final of the Champion of Champions. Victory tomorrow would strengthen his reputation as one of snooker’s blossoming talents.
World number nine Wilson beat Mark Williams 5-0 in the quarter-finals and was in similar clinical mood against Scotland’s Maguire. Breaks of 67 and 51 helped give him the first three frames, then in the fourth he trapped his opponent in a snooker on the last red, and from the chance that followed made a cool clearance for 4-0.
Maguire, whose last ranking title came in 2013, pulled one back after the interval and looked to be gathering some momentum when he led 47-0 in frame six. But Wilson pulled out a remarkable 63 clearance, which included a series of daring pots, to lead 5-1. That broke Maguire’s resistance as Wilson settled the tie in the seventh with a run of 62.
“I felt as if I held my composure very well tonight,” said Wilson after reaching his sixth ranking final. “I knew I couldn’t give Stephen any easy chances, but at the same time I had to be aggressive and try to attack at the right times.
“It’s pleasing to keep reaching the latter stages of tournaments. I’m just enjoying the events rather than chasing titles.
“David Gilbert is a very good cueist, very naturally talented. He has already had a final this year and he’ll be desperate to win his first title. He has beaten some very good players this week.”
The final starts at 2pm on Sunday.
All pictures by O.Behrendt / contrast
David Gilbert’s easy win over Duane Jones doesn’t surprise me. At some point Duane was always going to be a bit overwhelmed, by what he was achieving, by the surroundings and atmosphere … all that was completely unfamiliar to him whilst David has been there before.
I had Kyren Wilson as a favourite over Stephen Maguire before the other semi final but wasn’t expecting a one-sided match. Having not watched the match, I’m not sure what happened. Did the Stephen Maguire of old reappear, losing his patience and going for too many?
Kyren today will start as a favourite, but Gilbert, who is a very good player, certainly IS a contender for the title.
A win today for Gilbert would mean that he would break into the top 16, ranked n°15, pushing Luca Brecel to a perilous n°16 and Jack Lisowski out of it at n°17.
As it stands, come April David Gilbert is provisionally seeded 15 for the Crucible, at the expense of Stuart Bingham, now seeded 17, who would need to qualify.