MARK WILLIAMS, the only home player to win the BetVictor Welsh Open, was taken the distance before booking his place in the second round in Newport on Saturday.

Williams, Welsh Open champion in 1996 and 1999, defeated Gloucester’s Michael Wasley 4-3 to narrowly avoid an opening round defeat on home soil.

The twice world champion led 3-2 but Wasley cleared with 51 in the sixth to set up a deciding frame finish. Both players had chances in the last before Williams secured it in three scoring visits.

He said: “I missed a few long ones, which I haven’t got for a few years now. I nearly threw it away and I’m a bit lucky to get through.

“I think I’m trying too hard. I know my form’s not great and I was trying too hard to pot balls I should pot, and was missing a few of them.

“I can miss anything, no matter how easy. When I do miss I just have to put it out of my mind.”

Williams now plays China’s Tian Pengfei, who defeated Alex Borg of Malta 4-1.


Photographs by Monique Limbos.