Dale Knocks Out Williams
Dominic Dale won an exciting all-Welsh clash against Mark Williams by a 4-3 scoreline to reach the last 16 of the Ladbrokes Players Championship.
Dale registered perhaps his best result of the season as he left Williams to sweat over his top 16 ranking with the seeding axe for the World Championship to fall after next week’s China Open. Two-time Crucible king Williams is currently 13th on the projected list but has not qualified for Beijing.
The first six frames of a high quality match were shared, Dale making breaks of 72, 73 and 82 while Williams made 51 and 68. Early in the decider, Dale played a clever plant on a red to a top corner and went on to make a match-winning 61.
“I haven’t performed in the big arenas this season so a win like this is a big stepping stone for me,” said two-time ranking event winner Dale, who now meets Shaun Murphy. “I made some big breaks which was pleasing. About six months ago Mark told me that I needed to speed my game up and play more naturally. It’s a tricky thing to do but it worked tonight. It tends to make you a more positive player. In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have gone for the plant in the decider but you have to go for your chances.”
Ryan Day scored a 4-1 win over Kyren Wilson to boost his hopes of a top 16 place. Day remains 20th on the projected list but three of the four players immediately above him – Wilson, Stephen Maguire and Liang Wenbo – have not made it this far in Manchester.
Welshman Day lost the opening frame tonight but then won four in a row with top breaks of 98, 107 and 91.
“I played well, my game is in good shape and I stayed calm,” said Day, who now meets Mike Dunn. “I am still quite a bit behind in the rankings so this is just one step forward.”
Robert Milkins saw off Tian Pengfei 4-1 with a top break of 48.
Ricky Walden has struggled for form for much of this season but enjoyed an impressive 4-1 win over Tom Ford.
Walden, who became a father for the first time in September, knocked in runs of 112, 77, 57 and 80. “I played well tonight and I have felt as if I’m hitting the ball well in practice,” said Walden.
“I’ve had a bit of time away from the table and now I feel refreshed. My game is always about finding some rhythm and you’re only ever one good tournament away from getting back into form.
“My son Percy is six months old now – it is tiring having a baby in the house but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”