Williams Finds Potting Power

Yesterday at the China Open saw a brace of comebacks from two players at very much different points in the careers.

At 4-2 down to Ali Carter, Mark Williams looked to be heading for yet another early exit in what has been a dreadful season for the two-time world champion and former world no.1.

However, aided by a monstrous fluke at the beginning of the seventh frame, Williams evidently decided that if he was going to go out he would do so all guns blazing.

Reliving his glory days when he was widely regarded as the best single ball potter in the game, Williams went for everything and duly got everything, completing an unlikely turnaround in quick-fire time to win 5-4.

What this showed every critic was that Williams ought not to be written off too quickly.

Remember, this is the same Welshman who not too long ago was provisionally 47th in the rankings before enjoying a meteoric rise back up to the summit of the standings.

He is 38 years-old and does not have many good years at the pinnacle left but he will always have the talent to be a force to be reckoned with on any given day.

The result could prove to be a stepping stone for some end-of-season silverware but his next challenge is even greater, with Leicester’s Mark Selby waiting in the wings to burst the three-time China Open champion’s new-found confidence bubble.

Selby didn’t perform as well in his victory over Ricky Walden as he did in the previous round against Mark King – where he had three centuries and missed the final black for a 147 – but the result does mean that the ‘Jester’ will return to world no.1 ahead of Judd Trump ahead of the World Championship in Sheffield should he avoid defeat today and Neil Robertson not win the trophy.

This is crucial as, by being seeded second behind defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, he guarantees avoiding the ‘Rocket’ until the final, should they both get that far of course.

In the second round’s other mammoth comeback, Jack Lisowski followed up his remarkable triumph over friend and practice partner Trump by overturning a 4-2 deficit to Mark Davis and prevail 5-4.

This success is immensely important with regard ‘The Dude’s’ progression as it underlines that he does not just record one-off victories but can now string a succession of good results together.

With the win over Davis, Lisowski has reached the quarter-final of a ranking event for the first time in his career and something tells me it wont be his last.

His reward is a meeting with 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy, a tasty affair that could be all about who can score the heaviest.

Lisowski is a born entertainer and there are many who hope that his run in this competition will continue but Murphy will have his own agenda in mind – which is to return to the winner’s circle for the first time in over two years.

This evening, there is a repeat of the superb Welsh Open final where Stephen Maguire memorably pipped Stuart Bingham in a classic.

Maguire failed to find a middle gear on Thursday against Barry Hawkins but still had an easy time of it as his opponent didn’t even reach first gear – he was that bad.

Bingham, on the other hand, showed resilience to fight back from 3-1 down to the improved Robert Milkins and eventually overcome the Gloucester player 5-3.

Finally, Neil Robertson could be the man to beat in this tournament after two scintillating performances to the loss of just a solitary frame.

That said, the Aussie was very lucky at times in his encounter with World Open champion Mark Allen  – benefiting from two outrageous flukes that effectively ruined the match as a contest.

The Melbourne man faces surprise package Marcus Campbell for a place in the semi-finals after the 40 year-old dug deep to win the battle of Scotland versus Graeme Dott in a decider.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here

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