Mark Williams reached the semi-finals of his home tournament for the first time in 12 years with a 5-1 thrashing of Marco Fu at the BetVictor Welsh Open in Cardiff.
Just like John Higgins – who also won 5-1 earlier in the day – Williams is a member of snooker’s older guard showing a resurgence in form after a few lean years. He hasn’t won a ranking title since 2011 and has since had a spell outside the world’s top 16. But since November’s International Championship – when he lost 9-8 to Mark Allen in the semis – the Welshman has shown a significant improvement in form. He meets Gary Wilson or Ben Woollaston tomorrow, and after today’s performance the 39-year-old will be strong favourite to reach the final.
It was vintage stuff from Williams in the first four frames as he rattled in breaks of 103, 76, 108 and 80. Hong Kong’s Fu pulled a frame back and he led 45-1 in the next, but Williams snuffed out any hopes of a fight-back with a cool 46 clearance.
“I can’t play much better than that, I potted a few long ones and made big breaks,” said 39-year-old Williams. “I knew that was in the locker, it’s just hard to find it consistently. But when it comes out I am dangerous. I was in the groove today. I’m knocking on the door and hopefully I’ll get to the final. I have won £20,000 here already and that’s a big boost for me in terms of staying in the top 16. It puts a gap between me and the players behind me.”