The third quarter final makes up the menu at The Masters on Friday afternoon as Judd Trump takes on Kyren Wilson in what looks to be another juicy encounter for us to enjoy inside Alexandra Palace as we head closer to the conclusion of the second Triple Crown event of the season.
This tournament elevated through the roof in status on Thursday night as two gladiators played out an epic in an atmosphere only this event can generate and with two more standout stars taking to the baize here we would be foolish to expect any different in this one.
There were a few question marks over the form of Judd Trump heading into the tournament. He hasn’t had the illustrious season we expect a man of his calibre to have to date and I think we saw evidence of that in the opening round against Mark Allen. Trump won the match but he didn’t play well and had Allen not surrendered the eighth frame when faced with an easy red with Trump already needing snookers I don’t think the world number two would still be here.
I was in the crowd for that first round match for Trump and you could sense during the middle of the match that he had got very defensive and that might be a sign that he isn’t flowing with confidence like he usually is. In saying that, the way he won the deciding frame from behind will certainly have made him feel better and it might be that having survived one life he isn’t going to look back in this tournament. I think he’ll need to play better here even allowing for the fact he made three tons against Allen.
I think it is fair to say that we would have expected more from Kyren Wilson in the first half of the season too but to be fair to him he was the UK Championship winner in waiting until he ran into one of the best performances you’ll ever see from Luca Brecel in the semi-final of that event. That made me wonder if Wilson was carrying the sort of confidence you need to excel here because if you are slightly indifferent with your game, the pressure this crowd creates will soon find it out.
I thought Wilson was excellent in his win over Stuart Bingham though. He had to go through a deciding frame to get over the line but the first five frames was a clinic in cueing and he would surely have won going away had he not called a foul on himself a crucial stage of frame six in that game. That showed all of his class and we saw all his fight, determination and battling spirit towards the end of the decider when the last five or six balls under pressure were all of the highest quality. He’ll need all of those characteristics and more here.
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Head to head
These two rivals have met on 18 previous occasions and it is Trump who leads 10-8 courtesy of having won their last five meetings. He hasn’t dropped a frame in their last two matches which will encourage him and that has allowed him to open up a 79-71 frame advantage. This is the second time they have met at The Masters. Wilson won the semi-final in 2018 but Trump gained a first round revenge the following year. They have met over the best of 11 frames on six past matches with both men having three wins in that period.
I’m looking forward to this match. I don’t think Trump is quite on top form and I think Wilson is playing the better snooker but he needs to get over the line against his rival sooner rather than later else this could become a mental hurdle for ‘The Warrior’ to overcome at some point. Trump has won their last five matches but there was something about him going into his shell on Wednesday that I didn’t like. I sensed Wilson is right up for this and if I was brave enough to pick the winner I would side with him but I prefer an alternative bet.
That comes in the form of the total frames where I like over 9.5 of them. That might seem strange when Trump won their last meeting 6-0 at the Champion of Champions but it just didn’t happen for Wilson that night. I think the occasion here will bring the best out of these two men and we saw that back in 2018 too and that was an epic contest. I think this will be something close to that. Both players came from behind to win deciding frames on Wednesday so they are battle hardened and I expect another tough contest here.
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