Mark Williams Wished He’d Stayed On His Golf Trip . . . But Remains In Welsh Open

Mark Williams. Pic: Getty Images

Mark Williams Wished He’d Stayed On His Golf Trip . . . But Remains In Welsh Open

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By David Williams

Mark Williams is not expecting to be lifting the trophy at the Welsh Open in Llandudno this week after admitting his preparation was “not the best.”

The triple world champion – a two-time former winer of the Welsh Open – looked rusty as he beat John Astley 4-2 in his opening match of the tournament.

Williams managed only one 50+ break in his match and then revealed: “I’ve only just come back from a golfing trip with the boys.

“I enjoyed it and if I’m honest, I wish I was still out there.

“It’s going to be difficult. I’m going to struggle, I know that, because I haven’t touched my cue.

“I don’t deserve to do well in this to be honest. You’ve got to pick your cue up and practice and give 100%. I’ll try my best, but if someone plays half decent, they’re going to beat me.

“I haven’t been practicing a lot for a while. I’ve been playing an hour or two a day, maybe. You’ve just got to try your best. You know you’re going to struggle, like I did there.

“If he didn’t miss a few easy balls, he would have beat me.

“I could easily have given up there, because I was struggling a bit. But you’ve just to keep going, haven’t you, and you never know, I might play well in the next match.

“I did win the British Open doing the same thing.”

Mark Selby is into the second round after coming through a marathon contest that spilled into the early hours of the morning against Yuan Sijun.

The four-time world champion, no stranger to a late finish, hit a ton and three half-centuries as he clinched a 4-2 win over his Chinese rival.

Yuan took the first frame with a superb 95, falling just short of his century after missing as straightforward a green as he could have dreamed of, before being pegged back when his opponent rattled in a visit of 90.

The 23-year-old appeared destined to regain his advantage in the third, but he was his own worst enemy when a horrible missed yellow left the door open. It still required a remarkable clearance of 59 from Selby, including one terrific shot to move a red on the baulk cushion into a potting position, to cross the winning line though as he took a 2-1 lead.

Yuan remained undeterred, compiling an impressive 73 en route to levelling, with his positional game particularly impressive.

Play slowed up in the fifth, with a number of reds rolling towards the top cushion as both players became embroiled in a safety battle befitting the importance of the frame. Again, the Chinese player had multiple chances to put it to bed, but some poor potting and wayward attempts at snookers meant he lost his way.

It was therefore Selby who prevailed, finding a vital clearance of 27 up to the pink to make it 3-2, despite having his back to the wall for a significant period of time.

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