Snooker News

Williams a Winner Again

Mark Williams ended a two-year barren spell by winning the inaugural Rotterdam Open in the Netherlands yesterday.

The Welshman will go down as one of the sport’s greatest ever players but his career has been anything but consistent.

A dominant force at the beginning of the century, Williams won two World Championships and countless other events to write his name firmly into the history books.

However, a dramatic dip in form saw him plummet to as low as 47 in the provisional world rankings before a return to form saw him regain his world no.1 status a couple of years ago.

But since his German Masters victory over Mark Selby in 2011 the 38 year-old has been completely out of sorts – especially following a brace of crushing deciding frame defeats in subsequent ranking event finals that year.

Last season Williams was non-existent at the latter stages of tournaments, a poor bout of form that again has seen him drop out of the elite top 16.

Many questioned whether or not Williams would ever grace the big stage as he had done so often in the past but those have firmly been answered with a compelling 4-3 triumph over Selby, again, in Rotterdam.

Williams had earlier needed all seven frames to beat Gary Wilson in the semi-finals as well while hard-fought victories over Sam Baird and Stuart Bingham preceded in the day.

Selby had endured an equally difficult passage having edged Martin Gould and David Gilbert in more final frame drama.

But Williams was to have the better of a high-quality final that had four half centuries and a superb 136 from England’s Selby.

A 65 in the decider proved to be the difference between the pair and Williams admitted that it was a proud moment for him to beat an opponent he ranks, along with Neil Robertson, as one of the best players in the world right now.

The event in the Netherlands was only the second time one carrying ranking points had been staged in the country – the last time being in 1991 when Dave Harold lifted the European Open.

As has generally been the case in Mainland Europe, crowds were very good which would suggest that it wont take another two decades for the game’s stars to revisit the region.

With Germany, Belgium, Poland and Bulgaria already cementing their positions as repeated destinations, the Netherlands might just be about to join them – which would be another great coup for World Snooker spreading the sport globally.

 

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