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Williams relishing Higgins battle

Wales’ Mark Williams insists he cannot wait to take on John Higgins in the final of the World Championship after beating Barry Hawkins 17-15 in Saturday’s semi-final encounter. The 43-year-old last played in the final at the Crucible in 2003 but is confident of rolling back the years. The two-time world champion admits he will be tired going into the final after an epic match on Saturday night. Hawkins started the final session with a 13-11 lead but Williams refused to quit and continued to chip away at his rival.

He eventually got the job done in the early hours of Sunday morning to set up a shootout with Higgins and this weekend’s final will be the first ever between two players over the age of 40. The duo have 50 ranking titles between them and Williams admits it will be a special day to take on his friend. He told World Snooker: “I’m knackered. We both collapsed. It must have been great to watch, it was like two pub players trying to get over the line. “I’m over the moon to be in the final. I got there in the end, I don’t know how. Somehow I managed to pot a really good pink. I thought I had missed the last black, but when it dropped in I was so relieved. “My arms and legs didn’t feel like mine. I had no feeling in my arms at all. The last thing I wanted was to play another frame. The drama and the atmosphere out there was unbelievable. I forgot how good that arena is with one table, it’s been so long. “I’ve just got to go out there and enjoy the final. Hopefully if it does go close towards the end, I won’t collapse like a cheap tent again. I’ve grown up with John, played him in all the tournaments, and now we’re in the final of the World Championship. It’s unbelievable, I can’t wait.”

Williams will be expected to be pushed all the way by Higgins, who has two more world titles than himself, and he is 15/1 to win 18-15 in Sheffield.

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