David Gilbert stands two wins away from becoming just the sixth player in the history of snooker to win The Masters at the first attempt.
The world number 11 is enjoying by far his best spell as a professional player after making it inside snooker’s top 16 for the first time last season.
The Tamworth potter has reached several world ranking event finals in recent seasons but has yet failed to deliver silverware. He also grew in popularity last year with a sensational run at the Crucible where he fell just one frame short of reaching the World Championship final in an agonising loss to John Higgins.
Now a promising start to the Masters, has seen him become on of the favourites to win the title after beating Mark Allen and Stephen Maguire to reach the semi-finals.
On Saturday night he will face former world champion Stuart Bingham hoping to book a place in the Masters final on what his first appearance in the prestigious invitational event.
Only five players have lifted the trophy at snooker’s biggest invitation event on their first appearance – John Spencer 1975 (the first Masters), Doug Mountjoy 1977, Terry Griffiths 1980, Stephen Hendry 1989 and Mark Selby 2008.
Two more wins for Gilbert would see him become the sixth player to achieve the rare feat and would earn him his first major trophy in his career.
Lifting the Paul Hunter Trophy on Sunday, Gilbert said would be ‘the best day of his life’.
He said: “A lot of people talk about when I’m going to win a tournament and if it happened here it would be the best day of my life. I’m just keeping the same attitude and frame of mind for each match and if I do that I can beat anyone.
“I believe in myself now and I’m not inhibited by the scenario. I want to be out there against the best players.
“Getting into this event was never on my agenda in the past but now to have people cheering for me in an arena like this is what you dream of.”