Williams rubbishes Crucible title talk despite brilliant win over Higgins

·3-min read
Welsh Potting Machine Williams, 46, sparkled on the Crucible baize but ruled himself out of World Championship contentionM
Welsh Potting Machine Williams, 46, sparkled on the Crucible baize but ruled himself out of World Championship contentionM

Mark Williams reckons he’s got no chance of winning a fourth World Championship title despite stunning John Higgins in the last 16 at the Crucible, writes Will Jennings.

Cwm ace Williams, 46, rattled off nine frames on the spin at 3-1 down to topple old baize nemesis Higgins and book a quarter-final clash against either Mark Selby or Mark Allen.

Williams, the world No.12, memorably soared to Sheffield nirvana for a third time in 2018 but has tasted ranking event glory just twice ever since.

One of those came at the inaugural Pro Series last month but Williams insists he isn’t in the running at the Crucible after his thrilling second round display.

“I don’t think I’m good enough to win it. But I’m certainly good enough and dangerous enough to beat anyone on my day.

“I’ve done it there against John Higgins, one of the best ever – it’s massive. For me and a lot of others, he’s probably the second best player ever.

“It’s a great win for me. He’s still one of the best players and over three sessions, it’s a fantastic win for me.

“It was very pleasing. I think I just carried my form through form where I’ve been over the last few months – I’ve scored well, potted some great balls and made some good breaks. I thought I played really well all through the match.

“It’s easy for people to enjoy it when they’re playing well and they’re winning, but whenever I come in here and get beat, I’ll still have enjoyed it.

“That’s the way I’ve been playing for ages. I’ve been playing this carefree stuff for 20 years.

“I’ve never been afraid to lose. A lot of people who play are more afraid about losing than winning, but I’m the other way round.

“I’m not afraid of losing and if I lose, I lose there’s no problem.

“I’m at peace now. I haven’t got to win anything to prove anything and I’m just enjoying it – and the way I enjoy it is by going for pretty much everything, and that’s what I do.”

The Welsh Potting Machine has won three World Championship, two UK Championship and two Masters titles since 1998 and is showing no signs of stopping on the hectic snooker circuit.

Williams toppled qualifier Sam Craigie in the first round but was up against a sterner test in Higgins, a four-time world champion, in the last 16.

The world No.5 raced into an early 3-1 lead on the Sheffield baize but then it was all about Williams in a brutal Saturday display.

He cracked in brilliant breaks of 101, 91, 70, 108, 63 and 80 to reel off nine frames in a row and place him on the brink of a place in the last eight.

Higgins rallied with three consecutive frames of his own but Williams held his nerve as visits of 76, 85 and 77 hauled him over the line.

It’s three-time world champion Selby or Champion of Champions Allen next but carefree Williams couldn’t care less about his quarter-final opponent.

Williams, who lost to eventual champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 13-10 in last year’s last eight, added: “Whoever it is, I’m just in a quarter-final again.

“I was in a quarter-final last year and lost to the winner, and let’s hope I don’t lose to the winner this time.

“Whoever I play is going to be favourite, but I’m looking forward to it. I honestly don’t care who I pay – I’m just enjoying myself.”

Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17- May 3