Kyren Wilson three frames from world title after holding off Jak Jones fightback

Kyren Wilson repelled a determined effort from Jak Jones to conserve his five-frame lead after the penultimate session of the World Snooker Championship final in Sheffield.

Twice the qualifier, who had lost the first seven frames of the match, hauled back the deficit to three, but on each occasion Wilson responded and ended the afternoon three frames away from the title at 15-10.

Jones had staged a sterling recovery in Sunday night’s second session but ought to have ended the day just 10-7 down after losing the final frame of the evening on the black after Wilson had required a snooker.

And it was a similar story on Monday as the world number 44 blew a golden opportunity in the final frame of the session to pull back to 14-11 and give Wilson much more to think about ahead of the tournament’s concluding frames.

Jones did the hard work after Wilson missed a simple red when 52 points clear, but having flicked a problematic red off the cushion to put all the balls in play for a dramatic clearance, he missed a yellow to the middle and let Wilson off the hook.

It summed up the session for Jones, who failed to capitalise on the 12th seed’s evident discomfort and now needs to fashion the biggest comeback in the history of the tournament’s last session to turn his first ranking final into an improbable win.

Jones, who had come through two qualifying rounds and confessed he was “knackered” at the end of the opening day of the final, made a dream start to the day with consecutive breaks of 64 and 59 to chip Wilson’s lead back to 11-8.

In doing so the Welshman ensured he would avoid the indignity of becoming the first player since Jimmy White in 1993 to lose the final with a session to spare.

But Jones’ hopes of making further inroads were curtailed by Wilson, who had looked out of sorts in the early stages but unearthed breaks of 50 and 83 to reach the mid-session interval having restored his five-frame overnight advantage at 13-8.

In a see-saw battle, Jones responded with a break of 90, his highest of the final so far, to haul back another frame, then capitalised when Wilson missed a red to middle with a coolly-taken break of 67, which included a five-minute delay when a member of the audience was taken ill.

Jones’ evident intention to seldom refuse a pot was clearly paying dividends as he looked a completely different player to the frustrated figure whom Wilson had threatened to blow away in their one-sided opening session on Sunday afternoon.

But it also guaranteed chances for Wilson, who, having failed to take a handful earlier in the day, finally made good on a missed long red by Jones in the 25th frame with a break of 87 to move back four frames in front.

Jones got in first in the potentially pivotal final frame of the afternoon as he looked to reduce Wilson’s lead back to three frames for the third time.

But the jawed yellow gifted Wilson a lifeline and made him hot favourite to wrap up his maiden world title on Monday night.


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