Mark Williams eased to the German Masters title as he played some of the best snooker of his career 26 years after making his debut.
Writing on the wall from earlier in the week
Williams had looked comfortable in the early stages of the tournament before using his experience to ruffle the feathers of Judd Trump. Breaks of 68 and 109 sandwiched around a tight second frame gave Williams early daylight against the highest ranking player left in the competition. Trump responded with a break of 51 in the fourth frame but that was as good as it got for the man who had formulated the most centuries in the 2017-18 season. Williams went on to prove his tactical prowess as he comfortably secured the last three frames and a 6-1 victory.
The 42-year old won the World Championship back in 2000 and 2003 and rolled back the years with such an impressive display. Yet the 2006 World Champion, Graeme Dott, also did the same in his semi-final albeit in a much tighter contest with Shaun Murphy. The pair exchanged the first six frames with three half-century breaks apiece, although Murphy was outscoring his opponent with contributions of 98 and 96. Murphy went ahead for the first time in the contest at 4-3 but that sparked the 40-year old into life as breaks of 74, 66, 52 and 121 secured three consecutive frames and a place in the final.
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Dott forced to sit and admire
Snooker's most famous player, Ronnie O'Sullivan, has spent the last few months talking about how it is too easy for young players to take a place on the big stage before proving their worth in the amateur game. He told Eurosport after the two semi-finals, "playing competitive amateur tournaments would make these youngsters much better."
Perhaps he has a point when you look at two players over 40 donning their cues to take part in a ranking final. Yet that was soon forgotten as the Berlin crowd enjoyed a scintillating display by the Welshman against the Scotsman. Williams took the first two frames before Dott trumped a half-century break from Williams in frame three to register on the scoresheet in his first ranking final since 2010.
Yet Dott was forced to sit back and admire as a variety of tactical astuteness and excellent pots helped Williams to seven straight frames and his 20th ranking title. Breaks of 79, 66, 110, 66 and 50 helped the circuit's form player win 9-1 against a visibly disappointed Dott. It was the first time in 15 years that Williams had won more than one ranking title in the same year as his tally moved to two for 2017-18 following his success at the Northern Ireland Open.