The first day at the 2021 Masters brought one expected and one unexpected result.
Following Judd Trump’s and Jack Lisowski’s withdrawals, Kyren Wilson faced Gary Wilson and David Gilbert faced Joe Perry.
After the incident involving Gary Wilson last week, and his admission about struggling badly mentally, I was expecting a very easy win from Kyren. Gary actually played better than I expected. It was 2-2 at the MSI, and deservedly so. The match turned in frame six, when Gary, on 51 and close to secure the frame, missed a pink, and Kyren duly took advantage to make it 4-2.
Warrior Wins Battle Of The Wilsons
Kyren Wilson sealed a comfortable 6-2 defeat of late call up Gary Wilson to make the quarter-finals of the Betfred Masters in Milton Keynes.
The world number five has now reached eight of a possible nine quarter-finals so far this season and has also secured a fourth ranking title of his career with victory at the first Championship League event of the campaign. He’ll be aiming for a maiden Masters title this week, having been runner-up to Mark Allen in 2018.
Gary Wilson leaves Milton Keynes with the consolation of £15,000 in prize money. He was a late entrant to the event after Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski were forced to withdraw after testing positive for Covid-19. He was already present at the venue as a second reserve.
The pair battled out a keenly contested opening four frames this afternoon. It was the Warrior who came charging out of the blocks, firing in a run of 83 to take the opener. Gary Wilson then levelled, courtesy of an 85 break. He then added a second on the bounce by stealing the third on the black to lead 2-1.
However, that would prove to be the Wallsend cueman’s last frame of the tie, as the World Championship runner-up ensured they went into the mid-session level at 2-2 with a contribution of 108.
When they returned, Kyren Wilson secured four more frames on the bounce, making further breaks of 136 and 65, to ensure his 6-2 win. Next up he faces either David Gilbert or Joe Perry, who contest this evening’s first round match at 7pm.
Kettering’s Wilson said: “I was quite wary that he is on a free run. There is a lot of money in the Masters and that takes so much pressure off people. They are playing for their livelihoods and their mortgages and especially in today’s world it is massive. I was aware he could come out all guns blazing. I used my experience and tried to keep him under pressure.
“I work really hard and see myself lifting these titles, I don’t see myself losing in quarter-finals. It has been a consistent year and to be honest that is something I wanted to do. Previously it was either a first round defeat or the semis or a final. I’ve kind of found that level ground, I’m just coming up against really top professionals. I’ve lost to Judd Trump a couple of times, Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan.
“With basically the whole country in lockdown, people are stuck in their houses and losing their jobs. It is really hard with what is going on in the world at the moment. How lucky are we? Still playing the game we love.”
I didn’t watch the other match. The way David Gilbert had been playing so far this season, I expected a very one sided contest, going the way of a solid but unspectacular Joe Perry, whilst a disgrunted, moody , David Gilbert would be spending a lot of time sulking in his seat. Not a very enthralling prospect, especially when you are in a place where it’s already past 9 pm when the first ball is struck. I’m not night owl… By all accounts, I was very wrong. David Gilbert played really well, and there was a 50+ break in every frame.
Gilbert Downs Perry To Make Quarters
IWorld number 13 David Gilbert defeated Joe Perry 6-2 to seal his place in the quarter-finals of the Betfred Masters in Milton Keynes.
Tamworth cueman Gilbert went on a fine run to the semis of last year’s Masters at Alexandra Palace, beating Mark Allen and Stephen Maguire, before losing to eventual winner Stuart Bingham.
However, Gilbert has struggled to find his best so far this season, having only reached the last 32 of one ranking event so far. Today’s win sees him book a quarter-final clash with world number five Kyren Wilson.
Perry still receives the consolation of an unexpected £15,000. The Gentleman was here this week as first reserve, but a positive Covid-19 test from world number one Judd Trump saw Perry receive a late call up.
Gilbert made an electric start to this evening’s match, as Perry struggled to gain a foothold. He took the opener with a break of 58 and cleared the colours to steal the second on the black. Further runs of 62 and 60 saw Gilbert open up a 4-0 lead at the mid-session.
When they returned, Gilbert fired in a break of 71 to make it five on the bounce. From that point Perry began to exert some pressure, making contributions of 73 and 108 to reduce his arrears to 5-2. However, it was too little too late and Gilbert wasn’t to be denied, booking his place in the quarters by taking the eighth frame.
“I’ve been pretty poor for a long time now, so to get a win at the Masters feels good,” said 39-year-old Gilbert. “I think I played really well, considering I had no idea what I was going to do. I’m hitting the ball pretty well in practice, but it is hard when you aren’t putting matches together and difficult to get your confidence up and believe in yourself.
“I won’t get carried away and think I will win the thing or anything daft. I’m not looking forward, I’m just trying not to look behind. I’ll put my head down and I want to make the most of the rest of the tournaments this season.
“I don’t know what happened to me a few months ago. I completely lost my head, I hated every bit of the first lockdown. It got to Christmas and I hoped Boris would shut sport off the other day. I thought if they postponed the Masters, I would be playing alright in a couple of months. It didn’t matter to me and I’ve just chilled out. What will be will be”
So many players struggling mentally…
Today, Stuart Bingham, the defending Champion will take on Thepchaiya Un-nooh who is making his debut. I have no idea about what will happen there. Both played in the CLS last week. In Group 1, Stuart played well and made a 147, and Theppy got eliminated, making too many mistakes. Then, in Group 2, Stuart was rather terrible and finished last of the group, having won just one match.
In the other match Shaun Murphy will play Mark Williams. How Willo will play is anyone’s guess, as for Shaun, he’s been very active on social media, mainly about his challenge with Phil Seymour: “the biggest loser”, but not much transpired regarding his preparation for this…