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 first session of his semi-final with the No 8 seed Kyren Wilson at the Crucible.
Wilson was almost unrecognisable from the player who beat 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.
The 29-year-old made his Crucible debut in 2015 when he admitted heading into his last-eight clash with Shaun Murphy in the certain knowledge he was going to lose, despite beating Stephen Maguire and Mark Selby in his first two matches.
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. I realised I shouldn’t go into a match thinking I can’t win.”
Wilson started the semi-final a heavy favourite but he was slow to get out of the blocks and McGill seized advantage with breaks of 83 and 78 to take a 2-0 lead.
Even when Wilson got his chance he all too frequently 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 and extend his lead.
Wilson got a frame on the board and although McGill took the next two to lead 5-1, a simple missed blue in the seventh proved the difference between the Scot going further ahead and Wilson coolly clearing the colours to reduce his arrears to 5-2.
However, any hope of it being a turning point for Wilson were dashed as the nerveless McGill made a break of 92, securing his advantage ahead of their resumption on Thursday morning.