Mark Williams hasn’t beaten Ronnie O’Sullivan for eight years but has a chance to do so today.
The Welshman trails O’Sullivan 16-7 in previous career meetings with his most recent win coming in the semi-finals of the 2002 Thailand Masters.
Steve Davis said on the BBC earlier this week that the standard has risen since Williams was world no.1 but I think that if he today regularly produced the form he showed back then he would be winning tournaments.
In various reviews of the decade – though not on this blog – Williams was almost the forgotten man.
True, his game faded away as the 2000s went on but, for the first half, he was brilliant.
Indeed, Williams is one of only three players, along with Davis and Stephen Hendry, to win the game’s big three titles in the same season.
Today marks his first appearance in a Pokerstars.com Masters semi-final since he won the Wembley title for a second time in 2003. He hasn’t been in a final of any sort since he won the China Open in 2006.
O’Sullivan has played very well indeed, although he doesn’t seem to think so. He once said he would gladly pay for Williams to go on holiday so he wouldn’t have to play him again.
It promises to be a very interesting match featuring two of snooker’s all time greats.
Meanwhile, some more details are emerging about WPBSA chairman Barry Hearn’s future plans.
The calendar for next season will be announced next month, rather than trickling out in the summer as in previous years.
The WPBSA will give support to the World Series – another major change – and, as Hearn put it, “use it as a battering ram to get into countries not yet ready for a ranking event.”
There will also be a televised short form event designed to showcase the players’ personalities, details of which will be in the press on Monday.
Hearn, with trademark irreverence, describes the WPBSA chairmanship as an “easy” job.
In truth, it’s a lot of hard work but he has achieved the most important aspect of this: bringing together various promoters to work together.
This will mean more tournaments, more snooker on TV and a higher media profile for the game.
It needs the players to do their bit too, so let’s hope for a vintage final weekend at Wembley.