David Gilbert has had a season to forget so far, admitting that he would have been happy to see the Masters scrapped, but returned to form in style at the event by beating Joe Perry 6-2 on Sunday night.
The world number 13 has been really struggling for form all season, with just one run to a quarter-final and not managing a run past the third round of a ranking event.
The Angry Farmer has been candid about his struggles during the coronavirus pandemic, admitting that he has found it very difficult on and off the table to deal with the various stages of lockdown.
His game has evidently struggled, as his impressive form over the last couple of years has deserted him, but it looked to be back on Sunday as he turned in an excellent performance in the first round of the Masters.
A pot success rate of 95% and five half-centuries helped him to the comfortable win over the Gentleman, and this was despite admitting that he would have been happy to see the event scrapped.
Perry replaced Judd Trump in the draw after the world number one tested positive for Covid-19 and Gilbert admits he wasn’t relishing the prospect of facing the former champion.
‘I actually laughed about it when they had the new lockdown, when Boris was doing his announcement I hoped he’d lock the whole thing down, close sport off, everything,’ said Gilbert.
‘I was ready to go in me garage, get a couple of beers and get drunk.
‘I was quite surprised when they didn’t knock football and snooker and all sport on the head.
‘I knew I had Judd, so as much as I was looking forward to it, with the form I’m in, I couldn’t really see past him.
‘It’s obviously turned out alright for me now, so maybe this year will be a better one.’
Many will be sympathetic to Gilbert’s struggles, with coronavirus restrictions proving a serious struggle for people everywhere, and he admits they have got on top of him.
However, a win in a huge event like the Masters, and learning to deal with the government guidelines, could see his season turn around.
‘I’ve got no complaints, it’s been brilliant what World Snooker have done to get all the tournaments on, I’ve just not played well,’ he said.
‘I’ve had a bit of a stinker, not particularly enjoyed the last nine or 10 months.
‘I’ve let things snowball on and off the table. Bad attitude as well, which don’t help, but it’s a new year so crack on.
‘After the UK [Championship], I just thought “you know what, you’re just playing that bad, don’t worry about it anymore.”
‘But I’ve been working hard in the club, I’ve just struggled not being able to play with other players. I used to practice a lot with Mark Selby, which really sharpened me up.
‘If you can get a win in the Masters you’re doing alright. I know people say it was Joe and not Judd, but it makes no odds to me.
‘I’m just finally embracing the new normal, it’s absolutely shocking, I feel sorry for everybody, I don’t want it like no one does, but I felt good there.
‘I felt plenty nervous near the end though, I ain’t won a match for ages!’
Gilbert now faces Kyren Wilson in the quarter-finals on Thursday and, although he will be the underdog, hopes this new-found form continues.
‘I’m hoping it gives me a real good push,’ he said. ‘This is a proper event with the best players and the arena is as good as we’ve had all year.
‘Hopefully I can free up a bit more and fancy the job Thursday.’
Kyren beat his namesake Gary Wilson on Sunday, also by a 6-2 scoreline.
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