Snooker News

Mark Williams Struggling to Qualify from Final Round

Mark Williams has left himself with work to do in the final qualifying round for the World Championship in Ponds Forge.

Mark Williams Masters

Williams won the World Championship in 2000 and 2003. Photo credit: Monique Limbos

The two-time former world champion trails Stuart Carrington 6-3 after the opening session on Tuesday.

Williams began the encounter well, compiling a break of 112 in the first frame, but crucially lost a couple of close frames to fall three frames behind overnight.

The 42 year-old, who almost secured an automatic berth into the last 32 draw when he went all the way to the final of the recent China Open in Beijing, has only failed to qualify for the World Championship once since 1997.

However, Williams can at least take heart from the fact that he was 7-5 and 8-6 down in his previous two clashes against Zhao Xintong and Liam Highfield respectively, before advancing in close finishes.

After the the conclusion of the first session, three competitors could feel that they have one foot already in the draw for the main event.

Xiao Guodong constructed a brace of centuries in establishing an 8-1 advantage over Northern Ireland Open champion Mark King, while Stephen Maguire and Rory McLeod boast 7-2 cushions against Li Hang and Hammad Miah respectively.

All of the other affairs are closer and are still likely to go either way on Wednesday’s Judgement Day.

Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien, who finished his second round match at 2:30am early on Tuesday morning, understandably struggled initially against David Gilbert, losing the first four frames before retrieving the situation somewhat to be just 6-3 down going into the final day.

There are 6-3 leads as well for Luca Brecel, Gary Wilson, Yan Bingtao, Lee Walker, and Peter Ebdon – the 2002 world champion continuing his fine form this week against Michael Holt.

All the remaining fixtures have just one frame in it and look set for dramatic climaxes during the last day of action at the International Sports Centre.

Young Chinese star Zhou Yuelong has a narrow 5-4 lead over Ben Woollaston, while Iranian Hossein Vafaei Ayouri is similarly positioned with Tom Ford.

Martin Gould, Jamie Jones, and Rod Lawler are all one frame in front as well.

By the end of Wednesday’s play the 16 qualifiers will be known and the full list of players competing in this season’s World Championship complete.

Coverage of Judgement Day will be on the Eurosport Player, Facebook Live, and the World Snooker official YouTube channel.

In both of the latter options which are free, there is a roaming stream in which commentators Rob Walker and Neal Foulds dip in and out of all of the encounters at suitably important moments.

It’s compelling viewing and a brilliant addition to the already thrilling final round of world qualifiers.

If you’ve nothing planned for Wednesday, or even if you can sneak a peak at work, it’s highly recommended as it promises to be an exciting day of snooker in Sheffield.

Click here to view the draw.

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