MARK Williams was relieved to finally end his Mike Dunn hoodoo to move one step closer to his first ranking title in more than six years.

The Cwm cueman was already a heavy favourite to lift the Alex Higgins Trophy at this week’s Dafabet Northern Ireland Open with the field decimated, even before taking to the table for his quarter-final.

But Williams shrugged off the expectation to see off world No.48 Dunn with a clinical 5-1 performance in Belfast to take his place in the last four.

Breaks of 63, 71 and 53 did the damage for the double world champion, even after waiting more than five hours for the previous game to finish.

But it was the way he got the better of Dunn that proved most pleasing, a potter who has troubled the best of them throughout the week.

“I’m glad to have that one off my back, I can’t go through my whole career not beating some like Mike Dunn, it would have killed me,” he said.

“It was a long wait, I asked two or three times why they couldn’t put us on the other table, it was sitting free and I even had some of the crowd asking me.

“It makes no difference to me whether I’m on the TV table or not, it’s a nightmare waiting around and I was there for a long time.

“I just try my best and if I win at the end then great. I’m feeling a lot more confident in my game.”

Williams now plays Elliot Slessor, a potter who came out of the nine-frame epic earlier in the day.

But while the Englishman is ranked No.82 in the world, he has beaten Williams in his own backyard in last year’s Welsh Open.

And despite being a double world champion, the Welsh potting machine is refusing to take anything for granted.

“I’ve played him a couple of times, he beat me last year but I think we’re 1-1 on a head-to-head,” he added.

“But they’re all tough from now on, I’m just happy that I’m playing a lot better currently.

“There have been a couple of times where the draw has opened up so I don’t look it as being the favourite, if I am then it’s the first time for a long time.”

l Watch the Northern Ireland Open LIVE on Eurosport, Eurosport Player and Quest with Colin Murray and daily studio analysis with Neal Foulds.