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Wonderful Mark Williams secures second British Open title

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Williams lifts the trophy

Mark Williams claimed the 2021 British Open title following a 6-4 victory over Gary Wilson in the final on Sunday.

The Welshman hit two centuries and recovered from 3-2 down on the way to securing his 24th ranking event success and pocketing the top prize of £100,000 at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.

Also champion in 1997 – seven years before the most recent edition of this tournament – Williams became the fifth multiple winner after Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Jimmy White and Steve Davis.

The 46-year-old had struggled to produce his optimum performance levels throughout the week, notably surviving match ball against Ricky Walden in the quarter-finals.

In fact, he had progressed to his 37th ranking final with a highest break of just 73, while also narrowly avoiding defeats against Dominic Dale and Zhang Jiankang.

But the three-time World champion produced his best when it mattered the most to become the fourth-oldest winner of a ranking tournament.

“I was lucky to get through a lot of my rounds,” said Williams. “I should have gone out at least two or three times.

“Tonight, I thought I played really solid all the way through; that’s the best I’ve played all week by far.

“Most of the time, I don’t play great, but I’m still out there trying. It may not look like it sometimes, but I am.

“I’m just over the moon to get over the line in the end.”

Williams had won both his previous meetings with Wilson, who was making only his second appearance in a ranking event final.

After the first two frames were shared, the Welshman produced a magnificent clearance of 111 – giving him his first century of the tournament – but his opponent responded with 62 to level once more.

A wonderful break of 101 saw world number 33 Wilson edge his nose in front for the first time, but a run of 75 helped Williams regain the initiative at 4-3.

The Newcastle cueist equalised again, but vital errors proved costly as Williams produced a brilliant 115 clearance before dominating the next frame to seal the deal.

“Obviously, it’s very difficult to take the positives straight after losing,” admitted Wilson.

“It’s obviously a great start [to the season] and gets some money on the board straightaway and pushes me up the rankings a little bit further, so it does take a little bit of pressure off.

“I’m just bitterly disappointed; I was so hungry to try and win this tournament.”