|Dates: 10-17 January Venue: Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes|
|Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport app. Highlights on BBC Two and online.|
Defending champion Stuart Bingham eased past Shaun Murphy 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of the Masters.
The first four frames were slow going, despite Bingham’s superb 133 break and pinching the fourth from 58-0 down.
Bingham took the next two to go 4-2 up and he extended his lead to 5-3 by taking a prolonged eighth frame, as well as the next for a deserved win.
World number five Kyren Wilson was knocked out as David Gilbert came from behind to claim a 6-5 victory.
Gilbert won a frame on the final black but Wilson compiled a 114 break as the first four frames were shared.
Both players lacked fluency but Wilson made breaks of 107 and 80 to take control at 5-4.
Gilbert’s run of 67 – his highest break of the match – forced a final-frame decider where a cool 66 break secured victory and a place in the semi-finals.
Bingham became the oldest winner to lift the Masters trophy at the age of 43 last year but his record in the event before that was dreadful, with eight defeats at the first hurdle in nine appearances.
But the world number 12 has now reached the last four for the second consecutive year, setting up a meeting against Stephen Maguire or Yan Bingtao behind closed doors in Milton Keynes.
Bingham said: “We were both losing position quickly but I’m happy to get into the semi-final again.
“I was just trying to put a smile on my face and enjoy the battle, it won’t always smell of roses but you just have to try and battle through and try and click when you get your chance. It was a slog all the way through.”
‘I am proud of myself for sticking in’
Gilbert has only appeared at the invitational event twice but has now reached the last four on both occasions, being beaten by eventual winner Bingham last year.
The 39-year-old world number 13 is yet to win a major trophy and has had a poor season to date, knocked out in the first round of three ranking events.
Despite being outscored by Wilson, Gilbert set up a tie against world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan or two-time winner John Higgins on Saturday for a place in the final.
Wilson, though, had a chance to make a counter-attacking clearance in the final frame, but a missed pink to the middle proved costly.
Gilbert said: “I thought I was going to win in one clean visit but miscued and then he missed the pink to middle – I could have stripped off and run around the table when he did that.
“Kyren is a tough competitor, he played much better than me but I kept nicking frames. I felt really good at the end, I would have liked to have finished off in style but I will take that. I am proud of myself for sticking in there.”
Analysis – ‘Gilbert a vastly improved player’
1991 world champion John Parrott on BBC Two:
“Sometimes you can go back your room after playing and can be very proud of yourself by not producing anywhere near your best until it mattered.
“Gilbert was hanging around most afternoon, did not have his best stuff then produced two 60 breaks of enormous importance. Unfortunately for Wilson, he missed a pink which will not be nice to remember later on.
“How much confidence will that give Gilbert? He has been scrapping for form and all of a sudden he has had a big result.”
Six-time world champion Steve Davis:
“Wilson came here with great expectations but even if you are slight favourite in a best of 11, it is still no guarantees now. He will be rueing that missed pink, it was relatively easy.
“Gilbert is into the semi-finals again – if you looked at it 10 years ago that would not have been the case. He is a vastly improved player and who knows what he is capable of.”
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