Inspired Williams Sets Up Grandstand Finish

Mark Williams took six of this evening’s eight available frames, to fire himself back into contention at 13-11 down in his Betfred World Championship semi-final with Judd Trump.

Williams found himself 7-1 behind after a disastrous opening session yesterday and trailed 9-2 during this morning’s play, as well as 12-5 this evening. He has summoned his very best snooker to keep the tie alive. The seven-frame deficit would make it the biggest ever comeback in a Crucible semi-final if he were to go on and win.

The Welshman has already surpassed his personal best for centuries at the World Championship, having made 14. He requires just two more to equal the record for a single year at the Crucible, set by Stephen Hendry when he made 16 in 2002.

Williams is aiming for a fourth world title, he has lifted the famous trophy in 2000, 2003 and 2018. The 24-time ranking event winner defeated China’s Yan Bingtao 13-11 in an enthralling quarter-final to earn his place in this year’s last four.

Trump’s only Crucible crown to date came three years ago, when he thrashed John Higgins 18-9 in the 2019 title match. The Ace in the Pack beat Stuart Bingham 13-8 in the previous round. He came into this evening’s session with an 11-5 advantage over Williams.

The pair produced a scintillating standard for the packed Crucible audience when play got underway. Trump opened up proceedings with a break of 120, to stretch his lead to 12-5. However, an inspired Williams refused to back down and replied with breaks of 137, 58 and 53 to take the next two frames and close within five.

A dramatic last frame before the mid-session came down to the colours. Williams eventually deposited a stunning long range yellow and cleared to the pink to send a raucous Crucible crowd wild, moving just four behind at 12-8.

When play got back underway an inspired Williams continued to push his way back into proceedings. Breaks of 57 and 77 saw the 47-year-old make it five on the spin and claw his way back to 12-10 down.

A century run of 113 gave 23-time ranking event winner Trump his second frame of the evening, but it was Williams who took the last to end 13-11 down. The players left the arena to a standing ovation.

The concluding session of this best of 33 encounter takes place at 2:30pm tomorrow.