x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Williams out to stop The Rocket

The Welshman does not like playing Ronnie Sullivan but stands in the way to prevent him from equalling a record nine appearances in the final of the Masters.

Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Williams face each other today in the first PokerStars.com Masters semi-final at the Wembley Arena. O'Sullivan survived a mid-match wobble to score a 6-3 victory over Peter Ebdon and is now just one win away from equalling Stephen Hendry's record of nine appearances in the final of snooker's top invitation event. Twice Masters champion, Williams, completed a 6-4 victory over Shaun Murphy to go through to his first Masters semi-final since winning the title seven years ago. The Rocket had started superbly against Ebdon, outscoring his old adversary 360-75 to take a 4-0 lead. The former world champion Ebdon, as he always does, battled on gamely, and threatened a comeback at 4-2, before O'Sullivan took the two frames he needed to reach another semi-final. O'Sullivan finished off Ebdon with a break of 106 having earlier enjoyed runs of 92, 74, 54 and 53.

A four-times Masters champion, O'Sullivan can be considered hot favourite to return to his Chigwell home with the trophy tomorrow night. Williams admits he does not like playing the Rocket who he considers the best player ever to pick up a cue but must try and dismiss such thoughts from his mind when the two cross swords this afternoon.