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Williams Clicks To Beat Kleckers

World Champion Mark Williams fired two superb breaks in the last two frames to beat Lukas Kleckers 5-4 at the Hong Rui Ma Yushan World Open.

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Williams remained fully clothed throughout his post-match press conference

Williams was in danger of a shock first round defeat when he trailed world number 95 Kleckers 4-3, but he clicked into gear at just the right time to book a place in the last 64 against Alexander Ursenbacher.

The match had started well for Welshman Williams as he knocked in a break of 120 to take the first frame then added the second for 2-0. Germany’s promising Kleckers hit back with top runs of 73, 85 and 66 to take four of the next five frames. In sweltering conditions, with the temperature in Yushan nearing 40 degrees, Williams kept his cool to make a 94 for 4-4.

Kleckers had first chance in the decider but could only make 20, and Williams punished him with a match-winning break of 77.

“I was a bit lucky, I played well in patches,” said world number three Williams, who won a trio of ranking titles last season including his Crucible triumph in May. “Every win is a bonus because I have only had a few hours practice in the last two months. I made three or four good breaks in the match.

“It was very warm out there. I’m absolutely soaking, it was very difficult conditions. I came off after a frame and went to the toilet, Ricky Walden was there dripping with sweat and we were having a laugh about it. I was putting my towel into the ice bucket, getting it freezing cold and putting it around my neck. Anything to cool off.

“You have to adapt and try your best, there is no point coming here and wanting to go home. I love coming to China and always have done. There is a lot of money to be played for out here so you have to get used to it. If you are a young player, I doubt there is a better sport to be involved in.”

China’s Liang Wenbo suffered a surprise 5-1 defeat against amateur James Cahill, who gained a place in the event as one of the leading players from the Q School ranking list. Cahill made breaks of 61, 52 and 57 as he knocked out world number 19 Liang.

“It’s a very good win for me,” said Blackpool’s Cahill. “The last few years have been a struggle and now I’m trying to show what I’m capable of. Hopefully I will get a place in most of the ranking events this season.

“I took a break from snooker earlier this year because I had been playing since I was four years old. Now I want to do what I’m capable of and hopefully get back on the tour because I think I’m good enough to be professional. After today’s game I feel I have a good chance of doing well this week.”

Marco Fu trailed Peter Ebdon four times but recovered on each occasion and eventually won 5-4 by clearing from last red to pink in the decider.

Neil Robertson continued his perfect start to the season as he beat wild card He Guoqiang 5-0. Robertson won the first ranking event of the season, the Riga Masters, and maintained his momentum today as he fired runs of 110, 74 and 109 on the way to a comfortable win.

Chang Bingyu, a 16-year-old Chinese wild card, scored a 5-4 win over world number 35 Jimmy Robertson, while Matthew Selt won a marathon five-hour battle against Lee Walker 5-4 by potting pink and black in the deciding frame.

Stephen Maguire compiled breaks of 87, 76, 109, 55 and 56 in a 5-4 win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.