Monday, May 20, 2024

Kyren Wilson starts strongly to take control of World Championship final

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Kyren Wilson completed one of the most dominant opening sessions in the history of the World Snooker Championship final as he built a 7-1 lead over qualifier Jak Jones at the Crucible.

Jones had to wait until the last frame of the session to get on the scoreboard and avoid becoming the first player since Dennis Taylor in 1985 to lose the first eight frames of the final.

The Welshman, who fought through a gruelling semi-final win over Stuart Bingham on Saturday night, punched the air when he sunk the frame-ball red, but faces a huge challenge to repair the deficit when they return later on Sunday.

Wilson was in imperious form from the start as he rattled in two centuries, including a break of 129 in the opening frame, and four further half-centuries.

But the 32-year-old, in his first final since losing to Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2020, was far from perfect, a straight missed blue in the third frame handing his opponent a golden opportunity that he failed to convert.

It was the story of the session for Jones, only the ninth qualifier to reach a Crucible final, who was ruthlessly punished for spurning further opportunities and began to look increasingly ill at ease in his chair.

And the Welshman was criticised by six-times world champion Steve Davis – who inflicted the eight-frame lead on Taylor – for not heading straight for the practice table at the interval.

“He’s been sitting in his chair for four frames,” Davis told the BBC. “Why would you not go to the practice table? I don’t understand why not.

“He’s absolutely not even got out of the blocks, and he’s expecting to pot what could be difficult shots. It’s a no-brainer to me to go to the practice table.”

Besides Taylor’s poor start against Davis, the only other time a player has lost the first seven frames of a Crucible final was in 1991, when Jimmy White fell 7-0 behind against John Parrott.

And Jones may take some solace from the fact that Taylor hauled back his deficit to within one over the next nine frames, before going on to complete his famous black ball triumph the following night.

Earlier, Jones, who had fought through two rounds of qualifying, accused some of his opponents of making excuses for their defeats by blaming his attritional style of play.

Both Judd Trump and Stuart Bingham, whom Jones beat in the quarter-finals and the last four respectively, said it had been hard to find their rhythm against a player ranked the second slowest in this year’s Crucible main draw.

“It seems like a common excuse that these players use against me,” said Jones. “They are supposed to be the best players in the world but they are moaning about being knocked out of their rhythm.

“They just can’t accept it. It’s pathetic really, isn’t it? It doesn’t bother me. It is easy to blame what I am doing but it is working so I will take it.”

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