Three-time world champion Mark Williams is battling for a place in the semi-finals at the Crucible this afternoon. The Welshman endured a scorching evening last night as China’s Yan Bingtao fought back from 6-2 up to enter the session deciding tier at 8-8. Williams struggled to find his rhythm as Bingtao took four of the first five frames in Wednesday evening session.
Taking to Twitter last night as the game was still delicately prepared, he said: “Never been so happy with a 6-2 thrashing in my life, 8-8 result.”
Their quarter-final ends this afternoon, with play due to resume at 2.30pm live on BBC Two.
Nicknamed the “Welsh Potting Machine”, Williams hasn’t always had the best of relations with the Crucible tournament, having previously expressed his dissatisfaction with World Snooker over the way he was treated.
During the 2019 World Championships, he first tweeted his displeasure at being a peripheral figure in promotional footage from the tournament, before returning for a second dig the following day.
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He fumed that his son was not allowed to visit him in his dressing room as he did not have the proper pass.
He tweeted: “World Snooker stopped my boy Kian from coming into my dressing room before my match to wish me good luck and a high five because I’ve used my two passes and can’t get another one.”
He called the sport’s governing body “pathetic”.
Speaking to Eurosport shortly after, he said: “I’ve had enough of World Snooker to be honest.
He continued: “I had to go out and go to the Betfred lounge and see he was fine, it’s just amazing.
“They all know what’s going on, if the next world champion is treated the same as me, I feel sorry for them.”
Going into the 2019 tournament, Williams said he was convinced snooker officials were praying someone else would win.
He enjoyed the boozy celebrations after winning the World Championship the previous year.
He said: “I think World Snooker would prefer anyone but me to win this time.
“I think [they think] it would be better for the game if Judd [Trump] or Kyren [Wilson] or one of the Chinese players wins it, that they will do more for the game than me.
Williams admitted he spent the year after his Crucible win “relaxing a lot, playing a lot of golf and drinking a lot.”
His form suffered and he withdrew from the 2019 World Championship in the second round.
Three years later, Williams is back to his best.
One of the famous snooker of the class of 1992, he is still going strong at 47 and seems to have made some technical changes to his game.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is among those who have noticed, telling Eurosport earlier this week: “I think he is playing better now than ever.
“He hits the ball with more authority.
“I watched him play the other day and I just thought, he’s an animal, he’s an absolute animal in the way he hits the ball. It’s great to see.
Coverage of Williams’ decisive session against Bingtao is available on BBC Two this afternoon.