The 2021 British Open final – a best of 11 match – will be played between Mark Williams, going for his 24th ranking title and Gary Wilson going for his first.
Here are WST reports about how we got there.
Slessor And Wilson Set Up Tyneside Derby
Gateshead’s Elliot Slessor and Wallsend’s Gary Wilson won deciding frames to set up a Tyneside showdown against each other in the semi-finals of the matchroom.live British Open.
World number 49 Slessor defeated China’s Zhou Yuelong 4-3, claiming an epic deciding frame on the final black. Zhou spurned two chances to pot it, with Slessor missing a tricky chance as well. Eventually Slessor was left with the black at his mercy and deposited it to reach his second ranking event semi-final.
Wilson defeated last week’s Championship League winner David Gilbert 4-3 in their quarter-final. Having trailed 2-0, Wilson claimed four of the next five frames with a top run of 106 to reach the semis.
Former European Masters winner Jimmy Robertson is through to just the second ranking semi-final of his career after a 4-2 defeat of Lu Ning and he will face three-time World Champion Mark Williams, who edged out Ricky Walden 4-3.
Wilson Into Second Ranking Final
Former Crucible semi-finalist Gary Wilson edged close friend and fellow Tyneside cueman Elliot Slessor 4-3 to reach a ranking final for the second time in his career at the matchroom.live British Open.
Wilson, 36, is now just one match away from claiming his maiden ranking title. The Wallsend potter’s only final appearance so far in his 11 seasons on the circuit came at the 2015 China Open, when he was beaten 10-2 by Mark Selby.
Tonight’s victory for Wilson ends a streak of three consecutive semi-final defeats, at the 2018 Welsh Open, 2019 World Championship and the 2020 European Masters. He will take on Mark Williams in the final tomorrow evening over the best of 11 frames.
Defeat sees 27-year-old Slessor fall short of a first ranking final after a superb week in Leicester. Gateshead’s Slessor defeated the likes of Judd Trump, Ali Carter and Zhou Yuelong on his way to the semis.
It was Slessor who took a tightly contested opener and he was soon two to the good after a fine run of 73 to make it 2-0.
Wilson then burst into life, consecutive runs of 67, 68 and 100 saw him register three on the bounce and move 3-2 ahead. Slessor forced a decider with a fine century break of 125. However, it was Wilson who took the tie after firing in a match winning contribution of 54.
Wilson said: “Everybody knows me and Elliot are really close pals. We are both quite like minded. We both went into that game really wanting to beat each other. It was a massive occasion for us and we both want a tournament on our CV.
“It would mean everything. It is the performance as well for me. The title is massive and that is why I am battling so hard. You can’t play perfect, but as long as I can feel good and like a proper player. That is all I am after. If I can do that and get the result as well it would be the icing on the cake.”
Williams clinched his place in the final with a 4-1 defeat of Jimmy Robertson. The three-time World Champion is aiming for a 24th career ranking title tomorrow. Only Steve Davis, John Higgins, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan have won more.
Welshman Williams top scored this evening with a break of 73, having already defeated Ricky Walden this afternoon for his place in the last four.
Williams said: “That was a lot better. It was probably the best I’ve played all week to be honest. Jimmy had a few chances, missed and let me in. I had a great clearance to go 3-1 up and that broke the backbone of the match for me really.
“I’m just happy to be in the final. If I win 6-0 or lose 6-0, I can’t grumble. I should never ever be here. I could have gone out first, second, third or fourth round. I am very lucky to be here. Hopefully I can get a bit more luck with one more match to go.”
I have to make Mark Williams favourite today because of the way the week has gone. Basically, despite claiming to be “excited” (not!) as well as claiming to need “kebab” in order to feel OK, Willo has been hard as nail at the table.
He hasn’t played well, except in patches yesterday evening, but, match after match, he has found ways to win despite not scoring heavily at all for most of the week. He knows what is required and he’s been there before.
I was happy to see Ricky Walden coming back to some form after years of struggles with back injuries. He’s still far away from the form that got him to number 6 in the World in 2015, but he’s getting better. Ricky is very good to watch when on song. He’s a nice and friendly lad but he absolutely HATES losing … the last years must have been extremely difficult!
Whist they were doing battle in Leicester … Neil Robertson was getting married!
He posted this on twitter, saying “Dad and I ready for the big day.”. Hopefully the big day went well! Nothing else transpired… he may have been a bit busy.
Congratulations Mille and Neil!
Wishing you and your family loads of happiness.