Mark Williams
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Mark Williams: ‘If I feel like I can win I’ll tell you’

The Welshman is through to the last eight for the tenth time in his career.

Mark Williams produced a strong display to see off old rival John Higgins in the last 16 of the Betfred World Snooker Championship on Saturday in Sheffield.

Williams went on a remarkable nine-frame winning streak, and took 12 out of 16 frames from 3-1 behind to comfortably overcome his fellow former world champion.

The 46 year-old will face either Mark Selby or Mark Allen in the quarter-finals, with three victories now separating him for a fourth world crown.

Higgins had been one of the pre-tournament favourites after a dominant triumph in the recent Players Championship, but aside from a few glimpses the Scot couldn’t replicate the form he showed at the Celtic Manor in February.

“I think I played really good, solid stuff all the way through it for three sessions,” Mark Williams, who won the WST Pro Series in March, said soon after completing the victory.

“From 3-1 down I can’t play much more solid and my safety was good, a few of the long balls I was potting was good – a lot of breaks, a few centuries, and I just loved every minute of it.”

“It’s unbelievable really, I played (Higgins) here probably when I was in my twenties and I’m on the other side on my way to 50 at the minute and just played him again.

“How many more years this can happen I don’t know, I’m just playing as carefree as I can and my aim is just to see how long I can stay in the top 16 for.

“If I make 50 that’s my main aim, just enjoy it along the way and try to play some good stuff, which I am at the minute.


“I probably played as good as I was in 2018 I suppose, but I’m just being honest, in 2018 when I was coming here I thought I had a great chance of winning it – I was playing some great stuff.

“I don’t feel like that this year. If I feel like I can win it I’ll tell you, but I don’t feel I can play good enough or can sustain it to win it.”

Selby, meanwhile, scored heavily and boasts a 6-2 advantage over Allen after their opening session of play, with Shaun Murphy up in similar fashion against Yan Bingtao following contributions of 109 and a tournament-high 144.

Elsewhere, Kyren Wilson edged Barry Hawkins in a close battle to reach the quarter-finals for the sixth successive season, while Neil Robertson overcame Jack Lisowski with a 13-9 scoreline.

Live coverage continues on the BBC and Eurosport.

Featured photo credit: WST

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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the Northern Ireland Open – won by Mark Allen.

1. Judd Trump
2. Mark Selby
3. Ronnie O’Sullivan
4. Neil Robertson
5. Kyren Wilson
6. John Higgins
7. Shaun Murphy
8. Stephen Maguire
9. Mark Allen
10. Ding Junhui
11. Mark Williams
12. Stuart Bingham
13. Yan Bingtao
14. Barry Hawkins
15. Jack Lisowski
16. Anthony McGill

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy