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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 April, 2004, 20:57 GMT 21:57 UK
Williams battles through
By Phil Harlow
BBC Sport at The Crucible

Mark Williams
Williams has not been in the best of form
Defending champion Mark Williams was pushed hard by a battling Dominic Dale before completing a 10-7 win in the first round at The Crucible.

Williams resumed the evening session with a 6-3 lead and knocked in a fluent century in the 11th frame.

But Dale began to dominate, reeling off three frames in a row to level the scores at 7-7 as Williams toiled.

Hopes of a shock were dashed though as Williams composed himself to take the final three frames and secure victory.

And the Welshman dismissed any doubts over his commitment to defending his world title.

"I'm still 100% up for it," said Williams who became a father for the first time on Friday.

"I'm happy that everything went OK but I was focused - I felt totally relaxed out there.

"I wasn't putting myself under any pressure. It's not the best preparation you can have, but if you're happy off the table you can carry that over."

Dale blamed his slow start in the opening session, saying: "I missed the boat a bit in the morning by not being composed enough.

"Mark gave me the chances but I didn't take them and I was lucky to be only 6-3 behind at the end of the session.

"I thought I had Mark under pressure and he was struggling slightly, but he showed he is a true champion."


First round result (best of 19 frames):
M Williams (Wal) 10-7 D Dale (Wal)
48-79, 149-0 (105), 85-1 (69), 68-43 (68), 78-9 (57), 79-50, 125-10 (64),14-85 (85), 43-89 (63), 30-64, 108-7 (108), 13-76, 0-68 (54), 40-60, 76-44, 77-16 (56), 83-35



WORLD SNOOKER 2004

SECOND TITLE FOR O'SULLIVAN


CRUCIBLE HISTORY
 

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