A wonderful week of snooker in the Welsh Open concludes on Sunday when the final match of this season’s Home Nations series takes place at Kyren Wilson battles Shaun Murphy for the Ray Reardon Trophy inside the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.
Both players had to come through deciding frame victories from 2-0 down in their semi-final to make it into this best of 17 frame final, and so they will both be hoping for a slightly easier day of it on Sunday.
It doesn’t happen very often that the player of the tournament makes it through to the final, but when you make a maximum break in your first frame of the event and then from the last 16 onwards beat Ding Junhui, Neil Robertson and Ronnie O’Sullivan, there is little doubt that Kyren Wilson is the best player we’ve seen on the baize in Cardiff. He will now look to translate that into a title success in what is a prestigious event.
You could pick holes in Wilson if you wanted to but that would be foolish. He made the semi-finals in Cheltenham last week and now he is in the final here having played top class snooker all week. If anything he has got better as it has gone on throughout which his matches which is saying something given the way he started the week. The way he held himself together under pressure against O’Sullivan really caught the eye.
It hasn’t just been Kyren Wilson who has looked good this week, Shaun Murphy has too, although his semi-final was a very lengthy affair that never truly got going until he made a century in the final frame. That went on until well after midnight so he has that to get over if he is going to make a significant contribution to this final. He will be helped however from having competed in three finals earlier in the campaign.
Murphy hasn’t exactly had an easy run to this stage of the competition either having had to survive that marathon in the semi-final. We saw just what he can deliver in the quarter final though when he beat Judd Trump, and sitting second on the one-year rankings, this has already been a positive season for the Magician, one which could get a little better if he can win the Welsh Open for the first time here.
Head to Head
These two have played each other on five occasions and it is Murphy who has the edge with three wins to two but when you look at the frame score they are locked together at 16-16. Murphy has won their last three meetings which might give him a bit of confidence going into this final, but their last battle was 14 months ago and they have never met beyond the last 16 of an event so just how much we can read into the historical battles between the pair remains to be seen. I’m not completely sure they are relevant, especially when four of the five were only over the best of seven frames unlike this one over 17.
I think this is the week of Kyren Wilson. He has made a maximum and taken out Ding. Neil Robertson and Ronnie O’Sullivan and you don’t do that if you are not hitting the ball well and haven’t got plenty of bottle. It isn’t like Wilson is new to playing in finals either. He is pretty experienced in them and isn’t likely to wilt, so I think the younger man has a lot going for him in this contest, and at 10/11 is value to win it.
Shaun Murphy has played some decent stuff this week but the length of time his semi-final went on for has to be a concern. The longer that match went on the more his concentration waned and that is very much a worry and you’ve got to think that having not got back to his hotel much before 1am, if indeed it was that early, that the longer this one goes the more he might struggle. You’d fancy Wilson the closer this gets anyway so that makes me think the 10/11 on him is worth taking.
Back K.Wilson to beat S.Murphy for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral