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Williams seals last-eight spot

World champion Mark Williams says he is happy with his form – despite not playing much recently – after booking his spot in the quarter-finals at the Hong Rui Ma Yushan World Open. The world number three made easy work of his last-16 tie against Joe Perry and looks in strong form as he bids to reach his first ever World Open final.

Williams, who is priced at 15.00 to win the 2018 UK Championship, fired home breaks of 78, 63, 52 and 75 en route to a 5-1 triumph, but he will face a sterner test when he takes on the in-form Jack Lisowski in the quarter-finals. The Welshman insists he always loves playing in China and is hoping to go even deeper at the tournament as he edges closer to becoming world number one.

Williams said: “I love coming to China – I love the people, the fans, the food. I don’t know how many years I will be able to keep coming here so I have to cherish every trip.

“I’m still playing good stuff and I hope it continues. I haven’t played much over the summer so I’m very pleased to get to the quarter-finals here.”

The 43-year-old is firmly in the race to climb to the top of the world rankings over the next few months although he has played down its relevance due to Ronnie O’Sullivan’s inactivity. He added: “All the players know that the best player in the world is Ronnie O’Sullivan, and the only reason he isn’t number one is that he doesn’t play in a lot of tournaments.

“It makes virtually no difference now what your ranking is because in most tournaments everyone starts in the same round. To be world number one might sound nice but it means nothing now.”

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