Mark Williams showed his class to beat Jimmy Robertson 4-1 in their British Open semi-final to set up a final showdown with Gary Wilson on Sunday at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
The win sees Williams, 46, chase a 24th ranking title in a 37th final after a semi-final performance that represented a marked improvement on earlier offerings this week.
Williams failed to record a break in excess of 50 in his quarter-final success against Ricky Walden but produced runs of 60, 73 and 58 to seal his progression to Sunday’s showpiece.
Majestic Williams claims British Open title with victory over Wilson
The three-time world champion said he couldn’t “pot three balls on the bounce” after the last-eight slog against Walden, but produced a vintage, decisive clearance in frame four to take control of the encounter.
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And, while Robertson saw some table time in the fifth, a lack of cue ball control cost him, and Williams pounced to progress.
“Much better,” said a relieved Williams after the match. “I done a great dish to go 3-1 up and that probably killed the match off."
That is probably one of the best dishes I have put together in a while.
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Waiting for Williams in the final will be Gary Wilson, who beat close friend Elliot Slessor 4-3 in a high-quality affair.
Slessor, who ousted Judd Trump and Ali Carter in the third and fourth rounds, won a scrappy first frame before pouncing on a missed black from Wilson in frame two to compile a 73 to open up a two-frame advantage.
However, Wilson put himself within one frame of the final after breaks of 67, 68 and 100 only to see Gateshead cueist Slessor hit back with a 125 to send it to a decider. The Tyneside Terror Wilson produced his fourth 50+ break of the match – this time a 54 – to confirm his second appearance, after the 2015 China Open, in a ranking final.
“We were both trying so hard,” he said to ITV Sport after.
It means that much to try and win this tournament; we’re both vying for our first title. It’s not the best situation playing pretty much your best mate on tour.
“We’re both quite like-minded; we both go out there and just try our best. It’s just a shame there had to be a loser.”
The best-of-11 final begins at 19:30 on Sunday.
Out-of-sorts Williams survives Walden test to make semi-final
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