Luca Brecel's Best Long Pots | 2023 Cazoo World Championship

Williams Hits Robertson For Six

Mark Williams recovered a 5-4 overnight deficit to reel off six consecutive frames against Jimmy Robertson, winning 10-5 to reach the last 16 of the Cazoo World Championship for the 21st time.

Match schedule

As omens go, this is a very good one for Williams, as he beat the same player by the same scoreline in 2018 and went on to win the tournament. His progress was in doubt when he fell behind in the first session on Sunday, but the three-time Crucible king rose to the occasion today to run out a comfortable winner.

The 48-year-old Welshman, making his 25th Crucible appearance, sets up an intriguing second round clash with Luca Brecel, who edged past Ricky Walden 10-9. That contest starts on Thursday afternoon and concludes on Friday.

World number eight Williams reached the final of the Cazoo Masters in January and the semi-finals here in Sheffield last year – losing narrowly both times to Judd Trump. He thrives on the big occasion and, having played consistently well this season, he will be quietly confident of another deep run.

Breaks of 51, 69, 64 and 84 helped give Williams the first five frames today and put him 9-5 ahead. Robertson, who has now played five times at the Crucible without making it past the opening round, had chances in frame 15 but couldn’t launch a fight back. When he missed a long pot on the third-last red at 42-42, his hopes were gone as Williams rounded off the match with a run of 33.

“I played really solid today and put the pressure on Jimmy,” said Williams. “He missed a few that he wasn’t missing yesterday. My form has been good this season. I nearly won the Masters. I am still here and still doing it, I am moulding into a solid player all round. My potting is not as good as it used to be but my all-round game now is probably better than it was years ago.

“Sometimes there are long pots which I would have gone for in the past and got them nine times out of ten. These days my eyes are not as good so I turn them down. It will be a tough game against Luca but I’m not worried about anyone else, I’ll just try my best. And if I win the tournament again, this time all my clothes are staying on!”

Robertson said: “I felt good after the session yesterday but today… wow. I just never got going. The more chances I got the worse I was playing, it sort of got to me by the end. It was terrible today.”

On the other table, John Higgins secured a commanding 7-2 lead over David Grace following the first session of their opening round encounter.

Scotland’s four-time World Champion Higgins has been ever-present at the Crucible since his debut back in 1995. However, he has come under the radar this time around having endured a difficult season, languishing in 38th position on the one-year list.

Higgins quickly asserted his dominance on this afternoon’s session. Breaks of 51, 98 and 66 saw him establish a 3-0 lead. Grace took the last before the interval to stay in touch at 3-1.

When play resumed, Higgins made breaks of 67 and 90 on his way to three on the bounce and a 6-1 advantage. Both players had chances in the eighth, but eventually Grace potted a tremendous blue, followed by the pink, to reduce his arrears.

It was Higgins who took the last to leave himself just three frames from victory. The match will be played to a conclusion tomorrow afternoon at 2:30pm.