MARK Williams could well have put himself forward as a serious contender for this year’s World Championship after joining a select group by capturing the German Masters crown.

The Cwm cueman, world champion in 2000 and 2003, thrashed Scotland’s Graeme Dott 9-1 to claim the silverware in Berlin, seven years on from winning the same event for the first time.

In triumphing, Williams became only the fifth player after Stephen Hendry (36), Ronnie O’Sullivan (31), John Higgins (29) and Steve Davis (28) to land 20 or more ranking titles.

The 2017-18 season has seen the 42-year-old celebrate three tournament victories in all, with Six Red World Championship and Northern Ireland Open successes preceding his German joy.

Now up to seventh place in the world rankings, Williams is set to head to the worlds at the Crucible in April with his best chance of securing a third crown for quite some time.

“It will be the best I have felt going into the World Championship for many years, I will have loads of confidence,” he said after his demolition of Dott.

“Whether I can win it again remains to be seen, it is so long and so hard to win, but I’m really looking forward to it now.”

On his way to the final at Berlin’s Tempodrom, Williams had beaten Fergal O’Brien 5-3, Matthew Selt 5-2, Jimmy Robertson 5-3 and Judd Trump 6-1.

And he took his good form into the encounter with Dott, making a 110 break and six others of 50 or more.

“I’m over the moon,”

added Williams. “I hadn’t won a tournament for donkeys’ years, now I’ve won three this season.

“My long potting was very good and I played well all the way through. I felt zoned in from the start. I kept on going for my shots and felt at ease.

“I was genuinely thinking about giving it up after last season. I told my wife that I’d had enough and I couldn’t keep playing the same way.

“She was the one who talked me out of it, and what a turnaround it has been.”

Giving his take on the match, Dott said: “It sounds funny when you’ve lost 9-1 but I actually didn’t think I played that badly. It’s the first time I have lost that heavily and felt okay.

“I have had some thumpings before at the Crucible, losing 13-3 and being in bits because I couldn’t pot a ball, but today I felt comfortable.

“My safety was poor, Mark wasn’t really missing anything, and nothing went right for me.

“I should have made it 2-2 early on but maybe the way he was playing, it wouldn’t have made any difference.

“I played Mark when he was at the peak of his game and he was as good as that today.”

Not since 2002/03, when he won the world and UK titles, has Williams collected two ranking titles in the same campaign.

Williams will be in ranking event action again at the Coral Shoot Out in Watford which starts on Thursday.