Mark Williams sets up John Higgins final at World Snooker Championship

Snooker
Mark Williams
Mark Williams

Mark Williams finally reeled in Barry Hawkins to win their World Snooker semi-final 17-15, setting up a showdown with fellow veteran John Higgins.

Williams trailed from the outset and only moved ahead in the match for the first time at 16-15, before securing his first final appearance since 2003 - the year he won the second of two world titles.

It was hard on Hawkins, who once again reserved his best snooker for the Crucible, but he was made to pay for the latest in a string of errors in what proved to be the final frame as the Welshman advanced.

Williams potted a long green to open up a match-winning opportunity, but he was fortunate that the pink ran safe after a failed attempt to double it.

Hawkins, needing just the pink, was unable to force an opening and when he left Williams another long-range opportunity, the Welshman took full advantage to finally seal victory.

Williams earlier in the tournament promised to do his post-final press conference naked if he went on to land the title.

And he is standing by that commitment, saying: "I'll be sat here with nothing on at all."

He added: "I'm knackered. I was gone in the end and couldn't pot three balls in a row. He sort of collapsed. We were like two pub players trying to get over the line. I'm over the moon to get through to the final."

He accepts Higgins has an advantage, saying in a 12.30am press conference: "He's bound to. It's nearly one o'clock in the morning and I'm here talking to you lot. He's probably fast asleep. But there's only two more days so I'm sure I can give it one last push."

Williams will face Higgins in the final, their first meeting in Sheffield since 2011 and the only time they've squared off in a match for the World Championship title.

The Scot had earlier shaken off Kyren Wilson with a measured display to keep alive his hopes of a fifth world title.

Higgins was among Williams' victims when last the left-hander won the World Championship, while Higgins beat Williams en route to his latest title in 2011.

One of their finest encounters came in the final of the 2010 UK Championship, which Higgins won 10-9 after a tense final frame.

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