Kyren Wilson came from 7-5 down to beat David Gilbert 9-7 in an exciting D88.com German Masters final , winning his second ranking title of the season and third in all.
Wilson showed his fierce competitive streak and calmness under pressure by raising his game in the closing stages, notably with a brilliant clearance in the 14th frame.
The 27-year-old from Kettering takes home the trophy and a top prize of £80,000 and moves up one place to eighth in the world rankings.
He becomes one of 26 players in snooker history to win three or more ranking titles, and now stands alongside Marco Fu, Ricky Walden, Paul Hunter, Barry Hawkins and James Wattana on the all-time list. This time last year, after a series of final defeats, he was in danger of being considered a ‘nearly man’, but has emphatically answered any doubts by winning three tournaments this season including the invitational Six Red World Championship.
He also completes a unique ‘Deutschland Double’ of two ranking titles in Germany in the same season, having won the Paul Hunter Classic in Fürth earlier in the campaign.
Gilbert had hoped this ranking final would be third time lucky, having lost his previous two, but he lost the initiative after the mid-session interval in the concluding session, having come from 5-3 down to lead 7-5. This defeat will not be as tough to take as the Yushan World Open final last August when Gilbert let slip a 9-5 lead against Mark Williams, losing 10-9, as this time he made no more than a handful of errors at the business end.
The 37-year-old from Tamworth goes home with £35,000 and moves up the rankings from 19th to 17th, boosting his hopes of climbing into the top 16 in time for the World Championship.
Trailing 5-3 after the first session, Gilbert took a close opening frame tonight, sealing it by knocking in an excellent pot on the last red. That gave him the momentum to take the next two frames in a row with breaks of 94 and 65 to lead 6-5. In frame 12 he made 58 before trapping his opponent in a snooker on the last red, and from the chance that followed he extended his advantage.
Wilson hit back after the interval with a break of 93 to close to 7-6. Gilbert looked to be in control of frame 14 when he led 47-4 with four reds left in awkward positions, only for Wilson to make a fantastic 54 clearance which included several difficult pots.
Gilbert had a scoring chance in the 15th but made just 3 before missing a red to a top corner. Wilson punished him with a run of 70 to edge ahead at 8-7. In frame 16 Wilson made 42 before running out of position and playing safe, and when he got back in to add 27 the title was secured.
“It was a fantastic final with lots of big breaks and good safety,” said Wilson, whose first ranking title came at the 2015 Shanghai Masters. “We put on a good show for the German fans. I have always been a fighter and I dug in deep from 7-5 down. I felt it might be difficult for David to close it out because he has not won a title before.
“This is one of the biggest events outside the Triple Crown because we play in front of 2,500 people. I feel at home and relaxed here and that’s when my best snooker comes out. The atmosphere makes is so special. I’ll be full of confidence going into the next tournament now. I’m very proud of what I have achieved in the last three or four years, I’m only 27 and I’ve got many years ahead of me.”
Gilbert said: “I’ve had a great week and I’m not too disappointed about this one. Kyren made one of the best clearances I’ve ever seen to go 7-7.”
Both players now head to Cheltenham for the Coral World Grand Prix which starts on Monday – for ticket details click here.
All pictures by O.Behrendt / contrast