World champion Mark Williams admits some home success is long overdue at the Welsh Open in Cardiff. The left-hander scrambled into the second round with a 4-3 win over fellow Welshman Kishan Hirani on Monday.
Tour rookie Hirani made a 126 to lead 2-1 before veteran Williams knocked in breaks of 66 and 80 to go 3-2 up and within one of victory. Hirani levelled and, while the decider was a scrappy affair, it was Williams that did enough to earn the verdict and move on.
No Welsh player has lifted the title since Williams himself in 1999 and the world number two admits that the record of home players has been poor – something he suggests may come from placing too much pressure on themselves to do well at the event.
“It would be good for the tournament if any Welshman had a run, it’s unbelievable how none of us have done any good in recent years. It could be because the home pressure gets to us,” he said.
Williams is priced at 13.00 to end his personal two-decade wait for Welsh success and he knows the dream could easily have been ended at the first hurdle this year.
“It was a tough game, he made a couple of good breaks and his safety had me in trouble,” added Williams. “People were saying it was a foregone conclusion and I was going to win 4-0 or 4-1, but I know that’s a lot of rubbish. I knew it was going to be a difficult game and I could have lost.”
In-form Judd Trump is 5.25 to win the Welsh Open this week while defending champion John Higgins trades at 15.00.