Kyren Wilson claims Judd Trump already deserves his status as one of snooker’s all-time greats as the pair moved to thaw their previously frosty rivalry ahead of Monday’s World Championship quarter-final at the Crucible.
Wilson, who was handed a first-round bye following the withdrawal of Anthony Hamilton, withstood a stirring fightback from 11-5 down by Martin Gould to triumph 13-9 and reach the last eight for the fifth time.
The pair’s relationship soured after Wilson won a final-frame decider to clinch the 2015 Shanghai Masters title, and blew up again at the 2018 Champion of Champions when Trump responded to Wilson apparently questioning his commitment by snapping “He (Wilson) probably needs more practice than me.”
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But after seeing off Gould, Wilson insisted: “Judd is world number one and he’s won the ‘triple crown’ now. I think once you’ve got a triple crown under your belt you can go down in the greatest list, and that’s obviously my aim.
“I’ve proved myself over long formats against Judd before and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m sure Judd can handle all the pressure because he’s been there and done it before. I’ve just got to focus on what I need to do to beat him.”
After holding his nerve in his own last-16 thriller against Yan Bingtao, Trump revealed he now had no problems with Wilson, whom he tipped to go on and challenge for the title in future years.
“I think it (the rivalry) was a bit built up,” insisted Trump. “There’s no needle any more – we’ll never be best friends, but we get on. I’m sure Kyren will be in the world final one day with a chance to win it.”
Gould had worried Wilson by reeling off the first three frames of the morning and should have had a fourth until a calamitous error left the 28-year-old with a free ball and the chance to clear from three snookers down to move closer to victory.
Gould reduced the deficit again with a break of 73 and was in first in the next but gave Wilson a chance which he exploited to finally book a clash against Trump.
Neil Robertson pulled away from Barry Hawkins to keep alive his hopes of winning a second world crown.
The Australian, who will play Mark Selby in the quarter-finals, resumed at 8-8 and pounced on some uncharacteristic errors from Hawkins to take the first three frames of the session.
Hawkins reduced the deficit with a superb break of 104 but Robertson restored his lead with a 79 despite the black being out of service, then seized a second chance in the next frame to complete a 13-9 win.
Robertson said: “I’m a completely different player to when I won in 2010 – the whole game has moved on and last-16 matches are always going to be really tough here.
“I thought the match was played to a good standard despite the conditions with the humidity and the air conditioning.
“You need to learn to adjust to the conditions. Last year I didn’t handle it well, but this year I’ve done really well so that was my focus coming in and my shot selection has been really solid.”