The Welsh clash between the in-form Mark Williams and the insurgent Matthew Stevens.
Williams showed promising signs of a return to the form which consecrated him, but was unable to reproduce that form in the main ranking events and failed to win a major title last season. The Welsh Potting Machine succeed in winning the 2015 World Seniors Championship, played the finals in EPT Event 6 and Players Championship Grand Final , as well as reaching semi-finals and quarter-finals stages of some tournaments. The two-time World Champion first ruled the Crucible in 2000, bouncing back from 13-7 down to beat fellow Welshman Matthew Stevens 18-16. His second world title followed three years later when he beat Ken Doherty by the same scoreline in another close final. That completed an incredible hat-trick of snooker’s biggest titles as earlier that season he had won the UK Championship and the Masters.
Stevens lost both World Championship finals with the same score 16-18, in 2010 to Williams and 2015 to Murphy, but there were also years, 2009, 2010 and 2014 when he failed to qualify for the televised stage. To qualify this year he beat Ahmed Saif, Peter Lines and Joe Swail, but I can’t say he impressed by the evolution brought out. The best performance of this season came last summer by reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. Having only a win against the top 16 players, 4-3 against O’Sullivan in a PTC Event, I can’t see him keeping the pace with MBE Williams.
H2H: Williams 12-9
Prediction: Williams to advance.
Betting perspectives: Williams leader after first 4 email@example.com at
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