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Page last updated at 22:21 GMT, Saturday, 11 December 2010

Mark Williams beats Shaun Murphy to make UK final

UK Snooker Championship
Venue: Telford International Centre Date: 4-12 December
Coverage: Live action and highlights on BBC Two and BBC Red Button; updates and reports on BBC Radio 5 live and live coverage on this website; watch again on iPlayer; Full details of BBC coverage

Mark Williams

Mark Williams fightback stuns Shaun Murphy

By Mark Ashenden

Mark Williams won the last three frames to shock Shaun Murphy and set up a UK Championship final with John Higgins.

Wales' Williams resumed in the evening at 5-3 but lost five successive frames, failing to pot a ball in 74 minutes.

Murphy was dominant with two back to back century breaks before Williams set up a final-frame decider by edging the next two tense and error-ridden frames.

Both players had good chances to clear but Williams held his nerve with a long red to secure a breathtaking 9-8 win.

It was a match full of twists and turns with a remarkable conclusion considering how vulnerable and out of sorts Williams looked when trailing 8-6.

His highest break of the tournament is still only 82 with a top knock on Saturday of 73, but his performance reflects the fighting qualities of a man who has jumped from a world ranking of 47 to number three.


After making his first ranking final in the UK in seven years - his last was at the World Championship when he beat Ken Doherty - Williams was left a little stunned.

"I potted a few balls there when I closed my eyes," he told BBC Sport "At 8-6 down I'm dead and buried. It was all about desperation.

"There were certain shots you still have to take on but I knew I'd miss them. I'm over the moon to be in the final."

With Higgins already safely into Sunday's final after beating Mark Allen, it was left to Williams, UK winner in 1999 and 2002, and the 2008 UK champion to grace the baize on Saturday.

Murphy, world number four, had been a clear favourite after impressing in earlier rounds, but it was the man from Cwm, cheered on by wife Joanne and sons Conor and Kian in the crowd, who edged an often scrappy afternoon session.

The form of the 35-year-old had been nothing but erratic in his progression to the last four but he came out charging against Murphy, taking the opener with breaks of 46 and 38, followed by a 54 which included a risky yet stunning two-ball plant on a red.

Williams struggles to explain victory

The 2005 world champion though hit back with a 91, only to see Williams stretch his lead with a 73 before "the Magician" clawed his way back to 3-3 with neither player finding any rhythm or fluency.

Ending the session 5-3 up, Williams edged the evening's scrappy first frame but after wasting chances to grab a four-frame lead, the momentum swung hugely in favour of Murphy after clearing up when his opponent had fouled on a red five times.

Breaks of 81 and 129 levelled the scores at 6-6 and knocks of 129 and 107 had Williams on the rack and one frame from defeat. Murphy had amassed 416 points without reply.

But after losing five frames in a row, Williams, renowned for his dogged determination, at last potted a ball - his first in 74 minutes - and he somehow scrapped his way to the frame.

Remarkably, the revival continued and a 55 in the next and smart safety play took the encounter to a final frame.

Murphy had already come through a last-frame decider against Ryan Day in the second round but you sensed he had missed his moment.

And so it proved, despite both players having chances to clear up, as Williams at last found his range to pot a long red and go on to secure a phenomenal victory.

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see also
Higgins beats Allen to make final
10 Dec 10 |  Snooker
UK Championship - latest scores
10 Dec 10 |  Snooker
Murphy to face Williams in semi
09 Dec 10 |  Snooker
Higgins wins to reach last four
08 Dec 10 |  Snooker
Williams beats struggling Hendry
07 Dec 10 |  Snooker
Higgins happy to take second chance
06 Dec 10 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker

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