An angry Mark Williams eased into the last 16 of the World Snooker Championship after a 10-7 victory over Martin Gould on Saturday in Sheffield.
As is customary, the defending champion broke off proceedings of this year’s edition on the opening day at the Crucible Theatre.
Williams lost an early frame but took the next five, culminating with an excellent break of 129, to lead 5-1.
Gould managed to take two out of the last three frames of the first session to just about stay in touch.
But the former German Masters champion’s chances of an upset took a heavy blow at the outset of the second session.
The Pinner Potter won the 11th frame but sandwiched either side of it were opportunities to reduce the arrears, only for Williams to pinch them both on the colours.
Williams extended his advantage to 9-4 at the last mid-session interval and, even though his opponent threatened a revival with successive runs of 70, 86, and 76, the 44 year-old completed the triumph to advance to the last 16.
This season’s World Open winner subsequently launched a scathing attack on World Snooker for failing to let his boy Kian into the dressing room to wish him luck before the match began.
Each player is allowed two press passes and, as Williams had used his up, his son was harshly refused entry.
The mini fiasco comes amid an increasing tally of gaffes that World Snooker is making at the three-time world champion’s expense.
The newly released Snooker 19 video game boasted other players on its title cover – unusual given Williams’ status as reigning world champion – while an official poster for this year’s World Championship inside the Crucible had the 22-time ranking event winner in the background hidden away from sight.
“They’ve (World Snooker) obviously got some kind of grief with me,” an emotional Williams said in his post-match press conference.
“I’ve been having all this nonsense all through the season and this morning, I just couldn’t believe it.
“What harm is there with letting a 12 year-old boy into the dressing room ten minutes before I go out to say ‘good luck, dad’, what is the problem with that?”
Spot the current world champion 😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀 pic.twitter.com/OF5q6QptoM
— MARK WILLIAMS M.B.E (@markwil147) April 19, 2019
Williams will face either David Gilbert, a top 16 seed for the first time, or Joe Perry in the second round.
Elsewhere, the first World Championship whitewash since 1992 is on the cards after Neil Robertson inflicted a debut that nightmares are made of on Michael Georgiou.
The Cypriot finds himself 9-0 down to China Open champion Robertson, who has reached the final of the last four ranking events he has contested and is one of the favourites for this year’s world title.
Ding Junhui leads Anthony McGill 6-3 while Luca Brecel and Tian Pengfei possess one frame advantages over Gary Wilson and Stephen Maguire respectively.
All four of those fixtures reach their conclusions on Sunday while last year’s runner-up John Higgins enters the fray against Mark Davis and 2005 champion Shaun Murphy entertains Luo Honghao.