From DC Sport:
Mark Williams made light work of Jamie Cope to advance to the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
The Welshman had the opportunity to win with a session to spare when he led 12-2 but his opponent salvaged some pride in winning the last two frames of the second session.
The Stoke potter could not prevent the two-time former champion from progressing, though and a 13-4 scoreline was just what the world number 2 was looking for.
The signature event at The Crucible is known as ‘The Marathon of the Mind’ as it runs for 17 days and due to the length of the matches en route.
Indeed, the first round at best of 19 frames is equal to or greater than the final of every other tournament on the calendar which means that every player has to be fully prepared and mentally fit to go the distance.
This comfortable win for Williams will give him a golden chance to rest before the business end of the tournament next week and could prove to be the advantage between winning the tournament for a third time and falling short.
Williams is provisionally ranked at number one in the world with only Mark Selby, Ding Junhui and John Higgins having any realistic look-in at claiming the top spot at the end of the season.
However, now that the champion in 2000 and 2003 is in the last 8, it would probably take a run to the final or better for any of those players to prevent Williams becoming the world’s best player for the third time in his career.
It would complete a remarkable turnaround from the man they call the greatest single ball potter of all time.
Three years ago Williams surprisingly dropped out of the elite Top 16 after an astounding plummet in form and soon after was provisionally placed as low as 47.
It was questionable whether the 36 year-old was going to continue playing professionally and he openly admitted the possibility of quitting had things got any worse.
Yet, the current German Masters champion refocused and, once he put in the hard graft on the practice table, it was only a matter of time before the left-hander ground out some positive results.
The bookmakers unbelievably had Mark Selby, John Higgins, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui ahead of Williams in the odds which is dumbfounding really given the fact that he has been the most consistent cueist on the circuit in this campaign.
Those odds are sure to drop dramatically in the near future, however, as Williams will fancy his chances against either Mark Allen or Barry Hawkins in the quarter-finals – their match currently standing at 5-3 in favour of the Englishman.
Elsewhere in the second round, Judd Trump appears set to follow on from his excellent victory over defending champion Neil Robertson in the opening round with another efficient display as the youngster leads Martin Gould 11-5, needing only two more for his first last 8 berth, while Ali Carter and former champion Graeme Dott are locked at eight frame apiece.