Kyren Wilson produced an outstanding screen to take command of his World Snooker Champion semi-final versus Shaun Murphy and lead 6-2 after the opening session.
Wilson, the runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2015’s competition at the Crucible, made three century breaks and at one stage provided 248 unanswered points to open a four-frame lead.
Murphy, whose defence was abnormally slack, could have ended the evening with a 5-3 deficit after a rare Wilson mistake let him in however he missed a crucial red into the centre pocket and the 2005 champ will have to enhance in Friday’s second session if he is to get back into the match.
After Murphy won the opening frame Wilson entered his groove, with a fine 110 in the 3rd frame. Murphy was stuck to his seat as back-to-back centuries in frames five and six, breaks of 121 and 127, put Wilson 5-1 up and looking difficult to stop.
However Murphy stopped the rot with a gritty half-century break and need to have stolen the final frame of the evening after Wilson, en route to another century, fouled– but a clearance attempt ended when he missed out on the penultimate red into the middle pocket.
The quality of snooker on show was a big contrast to the first semi-final, which was controlled by complaints over the table, with “soft cushions” and a possibly malfunctioning cue ball blamed for some scrappy early play at the Crucible.
From the off the three-time previous champ Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham, the 2015 winner, observed the ball was not acting as they expected as they found themselves out of position on a number of shots with the white routinely coming up short.
Tables were re-clothed before the semi-finals however Bingham could be seen mouthing “this is unusual” throughout the very first session, which ended 4-4 At the interval the match referee spoke to both gamers and the table was brushed heavily and the hint ball altered as Bingham felt that was the problem, although when asked Selby supposedly did not think that was the problem.
Selby had actually coped better with the unusual conditions. Having actually lost the very first frame to a 60 break by his challenger, he took a 3-1 lead into the first period. Bingham was on a break of 46 before missing a blue but then Selby, with a chance to clean up, stopped working on a yellow at 56-31– although it was not to prove harmful as he later on cut in a dazzling long yellow and cleared the table.
Selby took the next 2 frames however high breaks of 33 and 46 provided an indication of the troublesome table conditions. Whether the change of hint ball made a difference or whether it was psychological, Bingham looked a various gamer when they returned. A 92-break– the greatest of the afternoon– right away made it 3-2 before in the next frame Selby’s foul potting a red as he sank the blue used Bingham, who had actually opened with 36, the chance to go back to the table and a break of 38 levelled the score.
Bingham breezed through the seventh with a run of 82 but after missing out on a brown on a break of 42, Selby responded to take the last frame and maintain his record of not lagging at the end of a session in the current championship.