Lee masters game at last as Williams is hit for six in Glasgow
STEPHEN Lee’s stunning return to form continued apace yesterday at snooker’s Regal Masters in Glasgow as he eased to a comfortable 6-0 victory over former world champion and world No1 Mark Williams.
Until last season Lee, who turned professional ten years ago, had only captured one major title.
However, the former English amateur champion went on to add the LG Cup and Regal Scottish Open to his 1998 Grand Prix win. And on the day he picked up the Snooker Writers’ Association’s player of the year award, Lee moved to within two wins of claiming the Regal Masters crown.
The 27-year-old Englishman demolished Williams of Wales 6-0 in just 103 minutes. He did so with breaks of 43, 46, 70, 122, 51 and 73 and meets defending champion John Higgins tomorrow for a place in the final of the 205,00 event.
Williams made his top break of 33 in a re-spotted black finish to the fifth frame. But in the rest of the match he totalled only 47 points.
Victory for Lee was particularly sweet as Williams had beaten him 6-3, 6-4 and 6-3 in the last three years in Glasgow.
"I’m over the moon with that because Mark usually plays out of his skin against me," said the world No7. "Normally I just sit there and watch. I would have settled for 6-3, 6-4 or even 6-5.
"But I was just trying to do a job on him today. I thought if he wants to go for the long pots let him, but don’t leave him any easy ones.
"It was a talk with John Parrott at the Nations Cup a few years ago that made me think about the game. He told me it was better to score 40 or 50 and then put your opponent in trouble than to go for that extra shot.
"I’ve always liked to get on with the game and it’s hard to refuse a pot and play a safety shot instead. Now, I try to put the opponent under pressure and feel content.
"I also didn’t really have the self-belief in my game until last season. But now I do."
Williams does not have much belief in his chances when it comes to invitation events. All but one of his 13 major title wins have come in ranking tournaments. "You try hard in every tournament but I never seem to do well here. Stephen is playing well but I made it too easy for him," he said.
Lee’s victory left just one of the semi-final spots up for grabs, with Ronnie O’Sullivan due to face the winner of Stephen Hendry’s world championship final rematch against Peter Ebdon.
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