David Gilbert dug deep into his reserves to scrap to a 6-5 win over Kyren Wilson to reach the semi-finals of the Masters.
The world number 13 looked low on confidence, and he was outscored, outpotted and beaten in the safety department, but he kept competing with Wilson before edging over the line.
Up next is a meeting with either Ronnie O’Sullivan or John Higgins, and in all probability Gilbert will have to up his level, but he found a way against Wilson and belief may be returning.
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Gilbert had the first chance but a wild miscue on the black was followed shortly afterwards by a missed red by a long way and Wilson pounced to roll in a break of 60 to take the opener. What was impressive about Wilson’s opening contribution was the cue ball control, as he kept it on a tight rein in compiling his break.
After the miscue on the black, Gilbert’s confidence - which was low coming into the event by his own admission - could have been knocked. A sloppy safety from Wilson handed his opponent an easy starter and a contribution of 58 was enough to level the scores.
Wilson’s cue ball control was excellent in the first frame, but it is an area of his game that does need improving and it cost him in the third. He ran out of position on breaks of 46 and 15, which allowed Gilbert to clear up the colours and force a respotted black.
It was a cagey affair, but Wilson offered a tough black into the green pocket and Gilbert knocked it in to move ahead.
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Wilson shrugged off the setback by making an excellent 114 - his seventh Masters century - to draw level at the interval.
Gilbert may start to work on his doubling technique during practice, as it did not work out for him against Wilson. He missed a couple earlier in the match and again in the fifth, which proved costly as his opponent laid a telling snooker and went on to take the frame to move in front at 3-2.
There was a collector’s item in the sixth frame: a Wilson miss with the rest. It was a tough chance into a blind pocket, and it ultimately proved costly as Gilbert got the better of a protracted safety battle - albeit with the help of a couple of fortunate snookers - to take the frame.
The seventh was another scrappy affair, and it suited Gilbert who was grappling with his game. A lengthy period of safety saw Wilson take the advantage, but he missed a brown into the middle and Gilbert stepped in to clear to move ahead once again.
It had been a long time since a fluent break was compiled, but Wilson got back on track in the eighth - and he knocked in his second century (107) of the contest to draw level at 4-4.
Wilson comfortably outscored Gilbert and he hammered home the point by knocking in a break of 80 to edge ahead at 5-4.
The shape of the match suggested it would head for a deciding frame, and Gilbert produced a fluent passage of play - on the back of a brilliant opening red - to take the 10th.
An excellent safety from Gilbert in the final frame earned him his chance and he took it with both hands to knock in a 66 on the back of 67th in the 10th.
The 66 did not get him over the line, but he got a second chance when Wilson missed a pink into the middle and he took his opportunity. It looked unlikely for the majority of the contest, but a never-say-die attitude got him over the line.
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