Williams struggled in this morning’s opening nine frames registering just one break over 50 but still managed to carve out a 5-4 lead going into the evening session against his Scottish counterpart.
On the resumption tonight both players stood to acknowledge and applaud Steve Davis as Rob Walker introduced him to the audience on his 30th appearance at the Crucible. When play began Campbell showed no signs of nerves and soon levelled things up at 5-5 with a fine break of 74.
Facing the possibility of an early Sheffield exit Williams stepped up a gear and made breaks of 54 and 71 to go two frames clear again at 7-5. It was the next frame though, the thirteenth, that would prove the most pivotal. A close 29 minute battle eventually went the way of the Welshman who was left with the final black sitting over the green pocket after Campbell had attempted an ambitious double to try and win the frame.
It was perhaps this frame that would prove the undoing of Campbell who admitted afterwards that a 7-6 score line at the interval might have made things a lot different. It was not to be though and Williams soon rattled off the two frames he needed for victory. A run of 87 took the two-time former champ within a frame at 9-5 and Campbell conceded what proved to be the final frame after attempting to obtain snookers to stay in the championship.
Williams will now wait to see if he faces Ronnie O’Sullivan or Liang Wenbo in Round two when the pair resume their match.
Post Match Reaction
It was a bit of a struggle, it certainly wasn’t a 10-5 victory to me, more like a match that could have been 10-8 or 10-9 either way really. I am just over the moon with the result more than the performance.
It was a struggle really the whole match, the ball kept going safe, which meant neither of us could get any fluency. It looks like I will be playing Ronnie O’Sullivan, but on that performance all day today I wish I was playing Gilbert O’Sullivan!
Hopefully I will play a lot better against Ronnie and the match will be as good as it looks on paper. I came back from China on the Monday and started practicing on the Tuesday morning. I want to try and keep the form from there going.
I will stay up in Sheffield there is no point in driving home. I will stay up and practice and watch the other players sweat it out a bit. The first round is very twitchy but I shouldn’t have been as twitchy as I was especially as my top 16 place was guaranteed. I was a bit edgy and found it hard to relax out there.
All season I have been consistent. In China I played well all through the competition, but you can’t keep playing well all the time so hopefully that is my bad performance out of the way. Everyone can win when they are playing well, but it is about winning those matches when you are not playing as well as the day before. Dropping out of the top 16 is no good for anyone. There are certain reasons off the table why my form has dipped. I haven’t sorted them all out yet, but I am getting there.
It was a bit of a battle out there today because Mark (Williams) has been playing well recently, obviously fresh from his success in winning the China Open in Shanghai.Looking back on the match, I did well today. It was scrappy early on but then I settled into the match, and I was disappointed to be 5-4 down this morning.
I started well this evening making that 74 break, but never got a shot for the next two frames.His safety was good, always putting me in trouble. I left a couple of reds out from my safety shots and he made two good breaks.
The big frame was the black ball game to go 7-6, unfortunately I lost that and went 8-5 down, which made my job a lot tougher.He didn't miss much tonight at all, so it was always going to be tough to beat him.
It was nice to be back at the Crucible and this year, I really enjoyed it unlike last year which was a bit of a disaster, mainly due to being nervous.
I felt great out there today, it's just such a nice environment to play in. Even the crowd get involved, I know the majority wanted Mark to win but that doesn't matter, it's such a lovely place to play at.