2020 Welsh Open – Day 6 – SFs

It will be Kyren Wilson v Shaun Murphy in the Final today in Cardiff … 

This is how we got there (WST reports)

Kyren Wilson 6-5 Ronnie (afternoon)

Kyren Wilson edged out Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-5 in a thrilling contest to book his place in the ManBetX Welsh Open final in Cardiff.

The win acts as revenge for gut-wrenching defeats Wilson suffered in his previous two meetings with the Rocket.

They met in the final of last season’s Champion of Champions, where O’Sullivan came from 9-8 down to win 10-9. Most recently they faced off at the Shanghai Masters earlier in this campaign, where O’Sullivan came from 5-1 down to win 6-5.

Wilson now faces either Shaun Murphy or Yan Bingtao over the best of 17 frames tomorrow, with £70,000 and the Ray Reardon Trophy on the line. The Warrior is aiming to land a fourth career ranking title, with his most recent tournament win being the 2019 German Masters.

O’Sullivan’s performance this week has edged him into 16th position on the live one-year-list. He heads into next week’s Shoot Out hoping to remain in the top 16 and qualify for the upcoming Players Championship.

There was a dramatic opening frame to this afternoon’s action. Wilson spurned two opportunities on a re-spotted black. O’Sullivan deposited it to take a 1-0 lead.

O’Sullivan doubled his advantage, before Wilson hit back with a run of 94 to make it 2-1 and stay in touch. However, five-time World Champion O’Sullivan produced a century break of 100 to lead 3-1 at the mid-session.

When they returned Wilson reduced his deficit, only for O’Sullivan to fire in a sublime contribution of 125 to make it 4-2.

Breaks of 52 and a superb 136 from Kettering’s Wilson restored parity at 4-4. O’Sullivan was first to the verge of victory after compiling a break of 81 after Wilson missed a red to the middle on 30.

Despite that 28-year-old Wilson refused to buckle. He forced the decider and made a steely break of 59 to secure the win, punching the table with delight after depositing match ball.

Wilson said: “It is hard to erase what has happened in the past. You can’t get away from it and it has made me the player that I am today. If anything it taught me what I did wrong in the past couple of times we have played. Today was all about getting through a semi-final and getting to the final of the Welsh Open.

“I’ve fallen victim of going into my shell in the past and wanting it to fall into my lap. Today I just wanted to go for it. You can’t back down to these top players or they will just walk all over you. They sense when you may be feeling a bit weak. That is how they have got to where they are so I am learning from those guys.

“I’ll love every minute tomorrow, win or lose. It has been a fantastic week for me. The crowd in Cardiff have turned out in their numbers as they always do. I’ve had great support on and off the table and I just hope we put on a good final.”

Shaun Murphy 6-5 Yan Bingtao (evening)

Shaun Murphy battled through an epic late night clash with China’s Yan Bingtao 6-5 to reach the ManBetX Welsh Open final.

With the clock past midnight, 2005 World Champion Murphy steeled himself to fire in a century run of 109 and emphatically clinch the deciding frame. Both players struggled to produce their best form in a clash which lasted four hours and 13 minutes. However, it was Murphy who held his nerve in the crucial closing stages.

The Magician will now face Kyren Wilson over the best of 17 frames in tomorrow’s final, with £70,000 and the Ray Reardon Trophy on the line. There will be a maiden Welsh Open title for whoever wins tomorrow. However, Murphy has previously competed in the final of this event, when he was runner-up Stephen Lee in 2006.

Yan, who celebrates his 20th birthday on Sunday, had taken the first two frames, before four on the bounce from Murphy saw the Englishman lead 4-2. Riga Masters champion Yan battled back to lead 5-4, but Murphy claimed the last two frames to seal his place in the final.

“The match didn’t go the way either of us wanted. You just have to play what is in front of you,” said eight-time ranking event winner Murphy. “When we started the game he was 19, not that I would say it was a long game, but he did have a birthday half way through it! He is a phenomenal player and he is going to be around forever.

“It is a good thing that I have a decent trophy cabinet at home because on that performance Kyren will be licking his lips. If he plays like he did today and I play like that there is only one winner. He has been on red-hot form in recent weeks.

“Relief is the overriding feeling. I am looking forward to getting some rest and coming back tomorrow.”

I both matches, the players struggled badly with the conditions. I’m not in a position to judge whether the the table was good or bad – Ronnie in his post match interview said it was good – but it played definitely differently from how it had all week. None of the players appeared able to consistently keep optimal position. Cushions were very reactive, side wasn’t taking on the same way it had in previous days. As a result, both semi finals were error ridden, even if there were some good breaks and brilliant shots.

Ronnie was very honest in defeat and you can read more about the first semi final here (with images and coverage)

Yan Bingtao turned 20 in the middle of the match. He will be disapointed right now, but he’s having a very good season. He has won his first ranking title, the Riga Masters. He has qualified for the Players Championship, and is well placed for the Tour Championship as well: he’s currently 7th on the one year list, and he will almost certainly get into the top 16 soon.

Happy Birthday Yan Bingtao!


2 thoughts on “2020 Welsh Open – Day 6 – SFs

  1. Strictly speaking, Yan Bingtao turned 20 before the match, which started 3am Chinese time (I’m not sufficiently knowledgeable to know the exact time of Mrs Yan’s delivery in 2000!).

    Yes, I think the table conditions caused problems, and in that situation one of the most precarious shots is the break-off, which cost Yan the match in the final frame. It’s almost impossible to practice that shot, and it may be that some new ideas are needed – it’s becoming a liability.

    As with his run to the semi-final in York, Yan Bingtao didn’t score heavily enough. However it’s not quite true that he’s no good at breakbuilding – he’s actually made 27 centuries this season, the same number as Shaun Murphy. It’s just that in the really big match on the main table his scoring dried up and he became more defensive. This will surely improve with more appearences in big matches and more confidence.

    As you predicted, there was a pre-recorded interview with Yan on Eurosport. The BBC had a 10-minute feature on Shaun Murphy during the MSI of the first semi-final, and then a feature of Shaun Murphy showing pictures of his kids in the MSI of the evening match itself, as well as the post-match interview.

    The final is hard to predict, but it will come down to who makes fewer mistakes.

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