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Jones Beats Williams In Welsh Derby

Mark Williams, the only home player to win the BetVictor Welsh Open having lifted the trophy back in 1996 and 1999, saw his hopes of a third title end with a 4-3 reverse against Jak Jones.

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World number 53 Jones beat the player ranked 46 places higher and is one of only three Welsh players left in the field in Llandudno, alongside Dominic Dale and Daniel Wells. Cwmbran’s 29-year-old Jones is through to the last 32 of a ranking event for the third time this season and will now face Jordan Brown or Julien LeClercq.

Three-time World Champion Williams made a break of 122 to lead 2-1, but Jones took the next with a run of 52, then converted a long double on the final pink in frame five to lead 3-2. Williams made it 3-3, but an excellent run of 73 gave Jones control of the decider. Masters runner-up Williams battled for snookers and got one of the two he needed on the last red, but then failed to escape from a snooker himself and offered the handshake.

“I’m really pleased with the win because Mark is still one of the best players in the world, it’s a big win for me,” said Jones. “In the last frame even when I made 73 I knew I wasn’t over the line and then he put me right under pressure so I was relieved to come through in the end. It was a great atmosphere out there. It’s a big opportunity for me now but the matches are all difficult.”

Defeat for Williams means that his place in next week’s Players Championship is in the balance. He is 15th on the one-year ranking list so must hope he is not nudged out of the top 16 over the next few days.

The 47-year-old said: “In night matches I get really tired quickly and that’s something I have got to look at. I am eating the right food but maybe I need more exercise. I was trying my best out there. I have practised more for this tournament than I have for the last 12 months. But I need to get fitter.”

BetVictor English Open champion Mark Selby came through a tough battle against Si Jiahui, winning 4-3 with a break of 124 in the fifth frame and an 85 in the decider.

David Gilbert has been arguably the player of the week so far, having made two centuries and seven more breaks over 50 in his two matches. He beat BetVictor Shoot Out champion Chris Wakelin 4-2 with top runs of 82, 110 and 59. Like Williams, Wakelin must watch results over the coming days to find out whether he has a place in the Players Championship in Wolverhampton.

Kyren Wilson suffered a 4-2 defeat against China’s Pang Junxu, a result which ends Wilson’s hopes of overtaking Ali Carter at the top of the BetVictor Series rankings and earning a £150,000 bonus at the end of the week.

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