Kyren Wilson pulled off a memorable deciding frame win over Ronnie O’Sullivan on Saturday to reach the final of the Welsh Open for the first time.
Wilson, who had beaten O’Sullivan in just one of their five previous meetings, came from 4-2 and 5-4 down to prevail 6-5 at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.
O’Sullivan was bidding to reach a sixth Welsh Open final and remain on course for a record 37th ranking title, but saw his wait for ranking silverware this season extended.
The 44-year-old fired in two trademark centuries but was restricted to just one point in the final two frames as Wilson progressed to his seventh career ranking final.
“When you feel like you’re competing with the best and beating the best it gives you confidence and belief in yourself,” Wilson told BBC Wales.
“I was literally playing the table, the crowd were fantastic and it’s a great setup.
“I won’t lie, I was nervous in the first couple of frames but the 90 break I made in frame three settled me down.
“I’m not trying to enjoy snooker, I love the game, the crowd pay good money and they don’t want to see miserable people all the time so it’s about having a laugh at the same time and giving them their money’s worth.
“I’m really relaxed and trying to enjoy it all.
“He [O’Sullivan] has caused me a lot of pain over the years so it’s nice to get one back.”
O’Sullivan clinched the first frame on a re-spotted black and went on to double his lead, before Wilson got off the mark in style with a break of 94 in the third.
A superb break of 100 saw O’Sullivan move 3-1 up, but Wilson stayed in touch with a 69 break after the interval.
O’Sullivan then crashed in a sensational 125 clearance, only for Wilson to hit back with consecutive breaks of 52 and 136 for parity at four-all.
O’Sullivan, though, regained the lead courtesy of a break of 81, but a 64 from Wilson was enough to send the match into a decider.
The Kettering ace then produced a crucial break of 59 as he got over the line to set up a show-down with either Shaun Murphy or Yan Bingtao in Sunday’s final.
“I was just trying to hang on really,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport. “I missed so many balls today, I think I missed three blacks off the spot.
“You can’t win matches if you’re missing those type of balls.
“I’ve got no complaints, I did well to get as far as I did really.”