The career revival of veteran player Mark Williams has continued as he came out on top at the 2018 China Open. The Welshman came from 9-5 down to overcome David Gilbert in the final to clinch his 22nd ranking title and take home the winner’s cheque of £150,000.
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This recent victory alongside his incredible triumph at last year’s World Snooker Championship has seen Williams overtake Ronnie O’Sullivan to second place in the pro rankings. His opponent Gilbert has now risen to 29th position after making his second appearance at a ranking final this year.
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Williams claimed that his mental strength and determination were the key aspects for his win. He said: “To win three matches I have looked like losing is unbelievable. I never give up or let my head drop, no matter what the score is. I never let my opponent see that I'm losing heart, and then sometimes it does turn around. Whatever is going on, you have to stick in there.”
"I feel for David, he didn't have that many clear-cut chances. I played really well from 9-5 and put him under pressure. I won it more than he lost it. When I get home, I'll be straight to the caravan park, then I have to decide whether to have a drink to celebrate the World Championship win or a drink to celebrate this one. Or I might just double up and do both."
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It was a smooth ride for Williams for a majority of the tournament after dispatching both veteran and rookie players with ease. The most notable wins were comfortable 5-1 victories over Swiss player Alexander Ursenbacher and Englishman Joe Perry.
It wasn’t until the semi-final stage until the Welshman was truly tested as he was taken all the way by Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham. After going 5-2 down and with elimination imminent, Williams managed to reel off four straight frames to clinch an impressive comeback win.
Other than Williams’ victory, this year’s event will be noted for many of the world’s top players crashing out in the early stages. Many casualties took place in the second round as Ding Junhui, Judd Trump and Mark Selby were all surprisingly dispatched.
All the attention will now turn to the European Masters which takes place in Lommel, Belgium during October. Hamilton Billiards will be offering comprehensive coverage of the Snooker pro tour all throughout the 2018-2019 season.