The 2023 Tour Championship – Day 2

Kyren Wilson beat Ali Carter comprehensively yesterday evening in Hull. Here is the report by WST:

Brave Wilson Wins Despite Son’s Illness

Kyren Wilson’s five-year-old son Bailey has suffered from serious medical problems in recent weeks but the Warrior has continued to compete on the baize and reached the semi-finals of the Duelbits Tour Championship with a 10-4 defeat of Ali Carter.

Bailey, the younger of Wilson’s two boys, first became ill in January and spent five days in hospital, initially with a suspected brain or back tumour. Thankfully that initial diagnosis proved incorrect. “We had a couple of days to wait for an MRI scan to find out whether it was a tumour, and that was very tough,” said Wilson.

It now seems more likely it could be something like Crohn’s Disease, though we are still not sure. But before I left home he was running about and seems to have turned a corner so that was great to see. It’s important to talk about these things sometimes rather than bottle them up. I have sometimes felt that snooker is the be-all and end-all, but this has made me realise how lucky I am, and it has freed me up to just enjoy the game.”

The Kettering cueman certainly enjoyed today’s performance as he rattled in a century and seven more breaks over 50 in an emphatic win over Carter. On his third appearance in this tournament, he’s into the last four for the first time and will face Ding Junhui in another best-of-19 battle in Hull on Friday.

Wilson has had an impressive season, highlighted by victory at the European Masters as well as a run to the semi-finals of the Duelbits Players Championship, and the 31-year-old is just two wins away from the biggest title of his career.

Trailing 6-2 after the first session, Carter reduced the deficit by taking the opening frame tonight with a break of 61. He had chances in frame ten but didn’t capitalise, and then botched a safety shot when he led 50-11, gifting his opponent the chance to clear with 50 for 7-3. The 11th followed a similar pattern as Carter over-cut a red to a centre pocket when 51-13 ahead, and Wilson punished him with a 55 clearance.

A run of 50 helped world number seven Wilson extend his lead to 9-3 at the interval. Carter pulled one back with a run of 69 before Wilson sealed the result with an 84 in frame 14.

He added: “Ali is a class act so I’m chuffed to win. I stepped up when I needed to and made some good clearances. This event is the best eight players of the season so you have to be on your game from the start. One of my main goals for the season was to get into this tournament and now I have won a match in it for the first time.”

Carter said: “I was rubbish all day. I threw three or four frames away and you can’t afford to do that against Kyren.”

First of all, I want to wish young Bailey a prompt return to full health and the best for the future. I’m glad to read that Kyren’s boy is getting better. For a parent there is nothing harder than seeing your child in very poor health, feeling powerless at helping them and worrying terribly whilst having to put on a brave, reassuring face in front of them. Everything else feels utterly unimportant when your child and the whole family are going through such times.

Regarding the match, Kyren played really well and looked more relaxed, less intense than usual, which, I think, helped him. In important matches in the past, notably during his Masters Final against Mark Allen, I was under the impression that he wanted it too much, he was trying too hard. That can be counterproductive at times. If, however, he can keep yesterday’s attitude and frame of mind going into the World Championship, he will be very dangerous.

As for Ali, he was poor indeed and said it bluntly. In the past, when players, Ronnie in particular, were bluntly critical about a poor performance, some fans accused them of disrespect to their opponent, seeing an honest assessment as an attempt to downplay the said opponent’s merit. I don’t buy that crap. Players have a right to be honest and express their true feelings.