David Gilbert says it would have been “incredible to reach a world final” after bowing out of this year’s World Championship at the semi-final stage following defeat to John Higgins.
World number 16 Gilbert enjoyed a superb run to the last-four stage of the tournament for the first time in his career and he was on course to make his maiden final, having been 8-3, 10-6, 14-11 and 16-15 ahead in the match.
However, the Englishman was pipped to the line by four-time champions Higgins, who won a nail-biting deciding frame to win 17-16 and book his eighth final appearance at the Crucible.
An emotional Gilbert spoke to BBC Sport after the match and although proud of his achievements, he admits it would have been special had he managed to reach the final.
He said: “I loved every minute of it. I came here with no expectations but I am absolutely gutted to lose. It would have been incredible to reach a world final.
“I have never won anything, I have come close but this is the best couple of weeks I have had in my snooker career by a mile. It might be the closest I will come to winning the World Championship.”
In the second semi-final, qualifier Gary Wilson was beaten 17-11 by Judd Trump but, although gracious in defeat, the ‘Tyneside Terror’ slammed the state of the table.
“First and foremost Judd deserved to win, I wasn’t good enough today, I wasn’t good enough yesterday, but I’ve got to say that table is disgusting,” he said. “It’s running off all over the place, you’re getting square bounces, kicks every other shot. It’s not an excuse it’s just simply saying that I struggled myself, but that made it even worse.
“Earlier rounds the table was spot on, I can’t understand how you can make such a bad job of it when you get it down to one table. It’s a shame, I feel like the game was spoiled a little bit.”