Kyren Wilson is hoping for a deep run at the Nirvana Turkish Masters to give himself the chance to enjoy snooker’s first ever tournament in the region and he made the perfect start with a 5-0 victory over Rory McLeod.
Snooker history is made this week with the first pro event in Turkey staged at the outstanding Nirvana Cosmopolitan Hotel in the beautiful city of Antalya.
World number five Wilson fired breaks of 60, 116, 83, 85 and 100 as he set up a last 64 match with Tian Pengfei. The match lasted just 52 minutes, giving Wilson plenty of time to relax.
“I have really missed trips like this, we get treated like royalty when we come to these countries,” said the Kettering cueman, winner of four ranking titles. “It’s great to see it supported well by new fans. When you are happy and comfortable in the environment then it brings the best out of you. The hotel is fantastic, the food and facilities are amazing and the venue is a lovely set up. I’m going to enjoy the week.
“It was a good start for me today, every time I went into the balls I landed perfect so I’m delighted with my performance. My positional play is improving – in the past I might have had a problem adapting to a new cloth on the TV table, but today I put on good show. My career went to another level when I reached the world final in 2020, since then I have shown a lot of consistency.”
Zhao Xintong had a much tougher match but came from 4-3 down to beat Michael White 5-4 and earn a last 32 clash with Matthew Selt. China’s Zhao made a crucial break of 60 in the last frame, and despite winning two ranking titles already this season he is determined not to lose his hunger for success.
“I don’t want to give my opponent an easy game,” said the world number seven. “I want to keep going and winning matches. I don’t feel any pressure. Even at 4-3 down today I just tried to play my game. Michael White used to be a top 16 player and I hope he will get back there.”
Turkish national champion Ismail Turker made his debut in a pro event but went down 5-0 to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, whose top break was 101. Martin Gould came from 4-1 down to beat David Grace 5-4, firing runs of 56, 85, 105 and 123 in the last four frames.
Michael Holt, who is in danger of tour relegation this season, scored a crucial 5-4 win over Lukas Kleckers in a match which came down to the final black. After a safety exchange, Holt slotted the black into a centre pocket before punching the air in celebration. Selt edged out Alexander Ursenbacher 5-4 thanks to a 31 clearance in the decider.
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