McGill shows his new mental strength by taking early lead
Five years after shedding his losing mentality, Anthony McGill moved closer to a first World Championship final by opening up a 6-2 lead in the opening session of his semifinal clash with eighth seed Kyren Wilson at the Crucible.
Wilson was almost unrecognisable from the player who polished off defending champion Judd Trump on Tuesday as a series of missed pots and safety errors gifted qualifier McGill the chance to continue his dream run in the tournament.
The 29-year-old made his Crucible debut in 2015 when, despite beating Stephen Maguire and Mark Selby in his first two matches, he admitted heading into his last-eight clash with Shaun Murphy feeling he was going to lose.
McGill said: “I remember going into the match against Shaun and I didn’t think I could beat him. After the match I realised that I could have won and it was a silly way to think, and I put it right the following year when I drew Shaun in the first round and beat him.”
After an epic first-round triumph over 13th seed Jack Lisowski and successes against Jamie Clarke and Kurt Maflin, McGill now stands a strong chance of joining Stephen Hendry, John Higgins and Graeme Dott as Scottish finalists in the Crucible era.
Wilson started the semi-final a heavy favourite after his stunning performance against Trump, but he was slow to get out of the blocks and McGill seized advantage with breaks of 83 and 78.
Even when Wilson got his chance he missed simple pots or ran out of position, a mistake on the green in the third frame ending a break of 55 and allowing McGill to step in.
Wilson belatedly got a frame and although McGill took the next two to lead 5-1, a missed blue proved the difference between the Scot going further ahead and Wilson coolly clearing the colours to reduce his arrears to 5-2. But any hope of it being a turning point for Wilson were dashed as McGill polished off the session with a break of 92.
In the other semi-final, Ronnie O’Sullivan took a 5-3 lead against Mark Selby.
Leading man: Ronnie O’Sullivan studies the table during his semi-final against Mark Selby