Mark Williams crashes out of Welsh Open snooker
THE wait for another home win in the BetVictor Welsh Open goes on after Gwent’s Mark Williams was beaten 4-2 by Marco Fu.
Cwm potter Williams is the only Welshman to win this tournament, lifting the trophy in 1996 and 1999, and he was cursing his luck after losing this last-16 clash at the Newport Centre.
Williams won the first frame and could easily have raced into a 3-0 lead but missed pots let in Fu and the Hong Kong ace took full advantage.
A 76 clearance from in the second frame levelled matters at 1-1 and after a break of 51 from Williams Fu again cleared up with 70 to lead 2-1.
Williams made 51 again in the fourth and again he gave his opponent a way back into the frame but this time Fu missed a simple pink and the Welsh veteran made it 2-2.
That was a big let off for Williams but a superb 103 break saw Fu take a 3-2 lead and he edged a scrappy sixth frame to knock out the crowd favourite.
“I could have been 3-0 up easy,” said a disappointed Williams. “I was 50 up twice and he made two good clearances but I should have won them.
“If it was O’Sullivan or Higgins they probably would have won that match 4-0 but I get into good situations and miss a sitter like I did twice and he punished me.
“That’s probably the best I’ve played this week and I’m out. That was better than my first two games but three balls cost me the match.
“The crowd were great, as they always are down here,” he added. “It was packed tonight and it’s a shame I couldn’t win for them.”
Williams’ focus now is on regaining his top-16 spot and with it entry to the World Championships in April and he insists he won’t retire any time soon even if his best days in the sport are behind him.
“You’ll never see the old Williams again, he’s gone,” said the two-time Crucible king.
“He’s dead and I’ve just got to try to do the best I can with this one. I won’t be retiring just yet.”
Fu, who now faces Barry Hawkins in the quarter-finals, said: “Luckily I had a few chances but I needed to rely on Mark’s mistakes so I have work to do.
“I’ve lost at least twice to Mark in this tournament before so I know what it’s like to play a home favourite.
“He has great support, which he deserves because he’s done so much for the game and for Wales, but in a way I think I was able to relax because all the pressure was on Mark.”
The main event on Thursday will be the showdown between multi-world champions Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins at 1pm.
The other last-eight matches see Joel Walker, who knocked out reigning champion Stephen Maguire, take on Ding Junhai and Joe Perry against Mark Selby.
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