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Mark Williams v Barry Hawkins: World Snooker Championship 2018 Semi-Final preview - Welshman out to ground The Hawk

Mark Williams plays a shot (credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images))

Mark Williams aims to move through to his first World Championship final for 15 years by denying 2013 runner-up Barry Hawkins at The Crucible.

Williams, 43, has rolled back the years to reach his first Semi-Final in the sport's show-piece since 2011 and is on course to claim a first world title since 2003.

The laid back left-hander has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance this season, winning the Northern Ireland Open and German Masters, as well as reaching the Semi-Finals of a further three ranking tournaments.

World ranked number six, Williams has comfortably dispatched Jimmy Robertson, Robert Milkins and Ali Carter en route to the Last Four and is now within touching distance of the record £425,000 top prize.

Should Williams go on to lift the trophy on Monday, he would become the oldest World Champion since fellow Welshman Ray Reardon 40 years ago and has vowed to conduct his post-match press conference naked if he were to regain the world title.

Barry Hawkins in action (Photo by Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images)
Hawkins, meanwhile, has continued his clinically consistent record at The Crucible, progressing to his fifth Semi-Final in the last six years, though he has fallen at this stage in the last four attempts.

The Kent cueist, who finished runner-up to Ronnie O'Sullivan in 2013, has flown under the radar once again in Sheffield, battling past Stuart Carrington and Lyu Haotian before thrashing a below-par Ding Junhui 13-5 in the Quarter-Finals.

Beaten finalist at the Welsh Open and China Open this season, 'The Hawk' is eyeing a first ranking title since last February's World Grand Prix and has a golden opportunity to etch his name into snooker folklore by becoming the latest new name on this iconic trophy.

Hawkins is now targeting a long overdue maiden win over Williams, having lost all five of their previous meetings dating back to 2010; this, however, will be their first competitive contest for four years 

Their latest encounter will be contested over the best of 33 frames and gets underway from 7pm on Thursday for a total of eight frames before resuming at 2.30pm on Friday and 10am on Saturday and being played to a finish from 7.30pm that evening at the Crucible Threate in Sheffield.

Either four-time World Champion John Higgins or Masters finalist Kyren Wilson will await the winner in the final on Sunday.


Player's View:


Williams: "I'm going to enjoy this more than any other Semi-Final I've been in because the tour is getting stronger, the standard's going up and I'm getting older so I don't know how many more years I'm going to be getting to Semi-Finals.

"I'm only two matches away and I'm playing some of the best stuff I've played for donkey's years.

"I'm playing with a lot of confidence, I'm relaxed and even when I'm throwing frames away, I couldn't care less, I just get on with it like I used to back in the good old days."

Hawkins: "I'm in the semis, there's only four of us left and I've got a chance.

"I'm not getting too carried away, there's a long way to go, when you get to this stage it's only halfway in terms of frames.

"Mark has had the season of his life so it's going to be really tough, I haven't got a great record against him but let's see what happens."



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Mark Williams v Barry Hawkins: World Snooker Championship 2018 Semi-Final preview - Welshman out to ground The Hawk

Mark Williams aims to move through to his first World Championship final for 15 years by denying 2013 runner-up Barry Hawkins at The Crucible.

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