McGill shows his new men­tal strength by tak­ing early lead

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - Snooker By Mark Stan­i­forth

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

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