Kyren Wilson’s red-hot form at the Gibraltar Open continued, as he moved into the final courtesy of a 4-3 win over Ricky Walden.
The victory keeps Wilson's hopes of a first title of the season alive, but it also makes John Higgins £150,000 richer as Walden’s defeat confirmed the Scot as the winner of the European Series bonus.
There will only be partial celebrations in the Higgins household, as he will miss out on a spot at next week’s Tour Championship if Wilson beats Robert Milkins in the final later on Saturday.
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Wilson came into the match in sizzling form, after dropping only two frames on the run to the semi-finals, and he opened the meeting with Walden with a sizzling long red. He did not take full advantage and Walden responded superbly with a break of 78 to take the opener.
Walden had a decent chance in the second, but a poor positional shot halted him in his tracks and a subsequent sloppy safety handed an opening to Wilson. A brilliant, long red got him rolling and he swept up a break of 77 to draw level.
With plenty riding on the contest for both players, nerves crept in early on. Walden looked good in the third, but sloppily ran out of position and fouled a blue when intending to play safe.
Wilson did not take the first chance, but Walden put the bank on a tough shot with the rest - it stayed out - and the world No. 5 powered through a break of 60 to take the lead.
As well as huge talent, luck can have a huge bearing at the top level. Walden had a massive slice of it in the fourth as Wilson was in the balls and going well, only to pot a black and see a red follow it in after splitting the pack.
It was an unexpected chance for Walden, but he took it with both hands as he racked up his fifth century of the tournament, a 102.
Wilson could have been forgiven for rueing his luck, but he shrugged it off with a brilliant total clearance of 132, his 53rd century of the season - more than any other player.
Walden was under the pump in the sixth and a poor safety, catching the bump of the middle pocket when attempting to play safe, handed a chance to Wilson. The player of the first two days was high on confidence, but pressure does strange things and he ran out of position and missed a tough black.
It looked a costly miss as Walden fashioned a chance and looked certain to force a decider, only to miss a routine brown following a brilliant cut back to knock in a green. Wilson missed his shot at the brown by a distance, and Walden eventually took his chance to take the match all the way.
The decider turned cagey the moment a red drifted into baulk, and a safety battle ensued.
Walden got in first after an excellent red to left middle, but he ran out of position after a break of 17.
Wilson got in but ran out of position immediately, and after making the game look ridiculously easy - both were showing it is anything but.
The missed red from Wilson handed a chance to Walden with the reds well spread, but he over-hit a green by a distance and had to run for cover with a 31-point lead.
The bottom left pocket has caught players out all week, and both fell foul of it in the decider. Walden’s was the costliest miss, as he left a red in the jaws with the rest and Wilson held his nerve to knock in a 59 and set up a meeting with Milkins later in the evening.
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