World Championship Snooker Semi-Finals Preview : Wilson and Gilbert Aim to Reach First Finals
Event Venue: The Crucible, Sheffield, Thursday, 2 May 2pm. Live on BBC and EuroSport.See Stats
The 2019 World Snooker Championshps have reached the semi-final stages. A new champion will be crowned after Mark Williams was knocked out in the second round. We're left with two of the top players in the world and two that have never reached this stage before. Our preview looks ahead to the best-of-33 frames semi-finals.
John Higgins v Dave Gilbert
John Higgins has won this title on four occasions and been the beaten finalist in the past two years. He's already beaten Stuart Bingham and the in-form Neil Robertson to reach this semi-final and is the favourite to defeat Dave Gilbert. It's a performance that has suprised many people and perhaps even himself. He admits that losing those two finals has hit him badly and on more than one occasion this season has been talking about retiring from the game.
His only world ranking event final this season was in the 2018 China Open and that was back in September. Higgins loves it at the Crucible though and the longer frames format does suit him. He's a great tactician and upset the odds when beating Robertson in the last round. His experience of the one-table set-up at the Crucible could be a key factor in the opening stages of this semi-final.
Dave Gilbert had never got past the first round of the World Championship before this year. He's a dangerous player who has steadily made his way up the rankings list and has to be feared in this match. This is the first year in which he has been seeded for the first round and has made full use of that privilege. He's beaten Joe Perry, defending champion Mark Williams and then Kettering's Kyren Wilson in the quarter-finals. Gilbert is an excellent break-builder but so was Robertson and look what happened to him when up against Higgins.
Get odds of 2/5 on John Higgins to beat Dave Gilbert with Boylesports (18+, Ts & Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly)
Judd Trump v Gary Wilson
There have been many great shocks in snooker's top tournament but Gary Wilson becoming World Champion would be one of the largest ever.. He'd only played at the Crucible once before this year. That was in 2017 when losing 10-7 to Ronnie O'Sullivan. There have been few signs that Wilson could make it all the way to the semi-finals of the World Championship this year.
He's only reached one quarter-final this season and that was back in August 2018 in the World Open. He only beat one top sixteen seed in that tournament but it just happened to be Judd Trump who he defeated. The rest of the season has seen him struggle to get past the third round of tournaments aside from a fourth round appearance at the Gibraltar Open in March where he beat Jack Lisowski.
He's already in the record books after playing in the longest ever frame at the Crucible. That was in the first round when he cbeat Luca Brecel 10-9 and that longest frame lasted 79 minutes. He's not looked back since that win over the Belgian with victories over Mark Selby and Ali Carter.
Judd Trump nearly got himself knocked out in the first round of this tournament after trailing for most of the match to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. He won that match in the end but it was more of a match that his opponent lost than Trump won. He's picked up his game since then though with good wins over Ding Junhui, again having to come from behind and Stephen Maguire
Trump hasn't reached the final at the Crucible since 2011 and this is his first semi-final since 2015. This season has seen him in great form including a win at the Ally Pally when destroying Ronnie O'Sullivan in the Masters final. If he plays as he did in his quarter-final then he' s sure to reach his second Crucible final.
Current odds for Judd Trump to beat Gary Wilson 17-9 are 10/1 at Betfair (18+, Ts & Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly)
- John Higgins is bidding to reach his third World Final in a row
- Higgins last won the title in 2011 beating Judd Trump in the final
- Judd Trump is in his first semi-final since 2015.
- Before this year Dave Gilbert had never made it past the first round at the Crucible.
- This is only the second time Gary Wilson has qualified for the Crucible.
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