World champion Mark Williams is picking up where he left off last season having set up a World Open quarter-final appearance in Yushan against Jack Lisowski.
The Welsh left-hander wound the clock back last term, winning ranking titles in Northern Ireland and Germany before capturing the third World Championship win of his career via an 18-16 success against another veteran, John Higgins, at the Crucible in May. Now 43, that world crown came fully 15 years after his second title and Williams is making a swift start to the new season in China. He eased past Joe Perry 5-1 to reach the Yushan World Open quarter-finals and will lock horns with in-form Lisowski for a semi-final spot.
Perry had no answer as Williams fired knocks of 78, 63, 52 and 75 on his way to the last-eight. Lisowski meanwhile has started the season in sharp fashion himself, losing the Riga Masters final last Sunday to Neil Robertson. He survived a major scare in his last-16 tussle with Kyren Wilson in Yushan however. Despite making breaks of 66 and 56, world number 24 Lisowski contrived to lose the first three frames, but rallied strongly with runs of 73, 56, 59 and 75 helping him force a decider.
That see-saw frame could have gone either way but a well-laid snooker on the blue gave Lisowski his chance to pot the crucial blue and pink and edge the win. Lisowski is 2.20 to gain a win over world number three Williams, who starts favourite at 1.67. Elsewhere in the last eight, Marco Fu faces David Gilbert, with Barry Hawkins taking in Gary Wilson and Noppon Saengkham squaring off with Xiao Guodong.