Welsh Open

Mark Williams Loses in Welsh Open

Home favourite Mark Williams crashed out of the Welsh Open after a disappointing 4-2 second round defeat to Zhang Anda on Tuesday.

The world champion was the last player from Wales to claim the title way back in 1999 and it looks as though the wait may continue after the world number two’s unexpected exit.

Williams, who has been anything but reserved in his celebrations since capturing a third World Championship crown at the Crucible last May, has been in patchy form of late and China’s Zhang duly took advantage.

The result means that there are only two contenders from Wales still in the hunt, one of them surprisingly Duane Jones after he upset the in-form Judd Trump with a similar 4-2 scoreline in Cardiff.

On Sunday, Trump added the World Grand Prix to the maiden Masters trophy he collected in January, but the quick turnover of events finally seemed to catch up with the Englishman.

The 29 year-old battled well, fighting back in numerous frames from a snookers required stage, but his overall standard was nowhere near the level he produced in Cheltenham last week.

Jak Jones is the other local boy remaining in the Welsh Open draw but, with both players placed outside the top 64 in the world rankings, it’s difficult to envisage either Jones etching his name onto the silverware come this weekend.

Elsewhere, the majority of the other marquee names managed to advance to the last 32 unscathed.

Defending champion John Higgins prolonged his hunt for a record sixth Welsh Open title with a hard-fought 4-2 victory over Dominic Dale.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, who has won the tournament four times, compiled breaks of 120, 99, 90, and 66 in overcoming teenager Yuan Sijun by the same margin.

It was much more straightforward for Mark Selby as the world number one whitewashed Adam Duffy, while Mark Allen knocked in three sizable contributions in defeating Mei Xiwen 4-1.

Allen represented one of the best players in the world at the end of last year but the Northern Irishman admitted earlier this week that he has been disillusioned with the game since the turn of the year.

Winner of the third Home Nations event in Scotland in December, Allen stated that he feels like an “angry man” and that he was advised to skip this week’s event at the Motorpoint Arena – only agreeing to participate because his was paired with rival Mark Joyce in the opening round.

Meanwhile, Ding Junhui failed to find top form but managed to survive an intense battle with Oliver Lines that went the distance.

Fellow former champions Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham also made it through with respective 4-1 victories over Gary Wilson and Matthew Selt.

Barry Hawkins recorded a 4-2 success against Ben Woollaston, Martin O’Donnell continued his fine season with a solid defeat of Ricky Walden, and Shoot Out champion Michael Georgiou denied legend Jimmy White.

Arguably the standout performance of day three came from up-and-coming Chinese star Zhao Xintong, whose 4-0 hiding of friend Zhou Yuelong was aided by runs of 132, 103, 97, and 70.

Shaun Murphy and Liang Wenbo’s desperate campaigns didn’t get any better, though, as they were downed by James Cahill and Ian Burns respectively.

German Masters champion Kyren Wilson bowed out in disappointing fashion with a 4-3 reverse against Joe O’Connor.

Among some of the others to extend their stay in the event were international players Noppon Saengkham, Hossein Vafaei, Alexander Ursenbacher, and Lukas Kleckers.

Live coverage of the Welsh Open continues on Eurosport, Quest, and BBC Wales.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)

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