Mark Williams has revealed he knew he was in a for a Crucible thrashing at the hands of China’s Ding Junhui.
Welshman Williams crashed out of the Betfred World Snooker Championship in Sheffield with a session to spare on Tuesday night – beaten 13-3.
But he has admitted he feared he was in for a heavy defeat as he was forced to replace the tip on his cue the night before the match began.
The former world champion from Cwm said: “As soon as my tip split the night before I had to play I knew then my chances were gone – there was no way I could do anything with a new tip.
“It’s hard enough to play in the club with a new tip but when you’re out there under those conditions it is almost impossible.
“As soon as that happened to me, I knew my fight was over – I had no chance and deep down I knew I was going to get thrashed, so I can’t really grumble.”
With six of the world’s top seven knocked out before the quarter-finals – including five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and defending champion Stuart Bingham – Williams felt he had a great chance to lift the trophy this year, making his exit all the tougher to take.
“I was playing and feeling brilliant and, with the players left in, it’s probably the best chance I’ll get at winning another World Championship,” said the 41-year-old, who won the title in 2000 and 2003.
“I was playing really well and was really confident – more confident than I have been for many years to do well here. It just wasn’t to be.
“I’m a bit disappointed because I won’t get as good a chance as this to win the World Championship again. A lot of top players went out and it was open for anybody to win it.”
Ding made one century and 11 further half-centuries as he dominated the scoring at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre and then a break of 76 in the final frame to seal victory.
It is not the first time this season that Williams has suffered from cue tip damage in the middle of a tournament.
He did the same thing at the BetVictor Welsh Open in Cardiff in February, but on that occasion emergency repairs enabled him to get through his match against Rod Lawlor and into the last 32.
There was no escape this time, however, as he became the last Welshman to exit this year’s championship.