Mark Williams showed timing is everything, as he potted a red just as the clock ticked down to zero to beat Xiao Guodong 29-28 to reach the last 16 of the Snooker Shoot Out.
The pair were locked together in the final two minutes of the match and a bout of safety looked certain to set up a blue ball shoot out.
However, Xiao was a little lax with a safety with 10 seconds left on the clock and Williams ran to the table, albeit more in hope than expectation as the balls were still moving as time ticked down.
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The cue ball came to rest with three seconds left and Williams settled himself over the shot before striking the white as the clock ticked to zero.
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The rules stipulate that the final shot counts if the ball was struck before zero, and the red dropped into the bottom-left pocket to secure victory for the three-time world champion.
“I can’t believe he didn’t roll the ball onto the cushion as the time would have run out,” Williams told Eurosport. “He played a safety and a red went up into baulk.
“I looked at it and thought if I pot it, I win. I was counting down the clock, five, four, three, two, one and then I hit it and it went in.”
Williams is a fan of the event, although he feels ranking points should not be available.
“I always enjoy it,” he said. “I played it when it wasn’t a ranking tournament. I don’t enjoy it as much as my kids enjoy it, but it is good fun.
I think everyone enjoys it. It is we just don’t believe it should be a ranking tournament."
Williams is easing himself into the tournament, having admitted to being nervous ahead of his first match.
“It was only the first match I was nervous,” he said. “That match, not at all, not even the last red. For whatever reason, I was bricking it in the first game.”
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Liang Wenbo fouled the pink with the rest and it cost him dear as David Gilbert stepped in with a big break to claim a 107-7 win.
Mark Selby benefited from a couple of easy misses from Liam Highfield to advance to the last 16 with a 58-17 win.
The 2019 winner Thepchaiya Un-Nooh powered into the last 16 with an impressive win over Hamim Hussain.
Thepchaiya made a circumspect start, but seized his opening in some style as a break of 91 secured a 96-0 win.
Noppon Saengkham got the better of crafty Ken Doherty 37-27 to join his fellow Thailand star Thepchaiya in the fourth round, while 2011 finalist Robert Milkins knocked in an impressive break of 66 in his 74-10 win over Matthew Stevens.
A break of 53 enabled Louis Heathcote to get the better of Michael White 82-9, while Lyu Haotian pounced in the final 60 seconds to beat Haydon Pinhey 37-33.
Former world number six Ryan Day is looking to climb back up the rankings after a period in the wilderness, and he produced a break of 71 in his win over Ben Hancorn.
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