Mark Williams overcame an attack of gout which left him “lying on the floor screaming” to beat Barry Hawkins 4-2 in the first round of the Coral World Grand Prix.
Williams is into the last 16 at Cheltenham Racecourse and will face Neil Robertson on Thursday afternoon.
Williams was given permission to wear a slipper on his left foot
Gout, a condition which causes sudden extreme pain, struck Williams last Saturday when he tweeted it felt as if “someone has hit my big toe with a hammer.” Medication has eased the pain and he was able to compete today, aided by an exemption which allowed him to wear a soft shoe on his left foot.
The three-time World Champion was far from his best against Hawkins but showed determination as he battled into the second round. Breaks of 50 and 58 helped him to a 3-1 lead. Hawkins took a scrappy fifth frame before Williams sealed victory in the next with runs of 47 and 40.
“I didn’t think I could win but I wanted to give it a go,” said 44-year-old Williams. “Barry struggled, probably because he saw me limping around the table and it put him off.
“A couple of days ago I couldn’t stick it. I was lying on the floor screaming. I have been on the tablets since Monday and now it is ten times better. The doctor says it should clear up within the next couple of days.”
Higgins Gains Confidence With Bingham Win
John Higgins saw off Stuart Bingham 4-2 to set up a match with Zhao Xintong. Four-time World Champion Higgins is currently ninth in the one-year rankings so every win is vital as he looks towards qualification for the second and third events in the Coral Series.
Wishaw’s Higgins took a scrappy opening frame then came from 40-0 down to win the second with a 60 clearance. Bingham took the third with a huge stroke of luck as he missed the final blue to a baulk corner but it came off three cushions and dropped into a centre pocket. The Masters champion made a 57 in the next as he recovered to 2-2.
Higgins regained the lead then Bingham looked set to make it 3-3 until he ran out of position leading 64-23 in the sixth. Higgins dropped an excellent pot on the third-last red into a centre pocket and cleared with 42 for victory.
“I’m delighted because I have lost deciding frames in the last two tournaments and it looked like going 3-3 today,” said 44-year-old Higgins. “There were nerves when I was clearing up because I haven’t won a lot of matches recently so I’m low on confidence. Even when the balls look easy, you can miss anything.”
Kyren Wilson came from 2-0 down to beat Jack Lisowski 4-3, earning a match with Judd Trump on Thursday at 1pm.
Local favourite Lisowski, from Churchdown, started strongly with breaks of 63 and 88, then Wilson hit back to take the next three frames with a top run of 76. Lisowski made a 64 to level at 3-3 but was trapped in a tough snooker early in the decider and gave away 32 penalty points. Wilson then compiled a run of 52 which proved enough.
Zhao won a Chinese derby against Yan Bingtao 4-2. Breaks of 56, 103 and 77 helped Zhao reach the last 16 of a ranking event for the fifth time this season.