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Mark Williams on Hong Kong Masters trip: ‘All I came for was the prize money’

Mark Williams had a huge task ahead after a late call-up to the Hong Kong Masters (Image: Getty Images)

Mark Williams admitted he only made the last-minute trip to the Hong Kong Masters for a big prize money, saying he had no chance of beating Neil Robertson in the quarter-final match.

The Welshman was invited to play in Hong Kong on Wednesday afterwards Zhao Xintong tested positive for Covid after traveling to the tournament.

The three-time world champion flew out of the UK on Thursday and landed just a few hours before his clash with Robertson, facing the Australian unprepared and nearly sleepless.

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The 47-year-old put in a great fight, starting the match with a big break of 133 and making more efforts in the 80’s and 55’s, but succumbed to a 5-3 defeat, which he said is inevitable in the circumstances.

However, the frantic journey was well worth it for the financial reward, as well as to play at the huge Hong Kong Stadium, which is set to break the world record for the largest snooker crowd in history with around 9,000 people expected to take part in Sunday’s final.

I knew I couldn’t win today. Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I can’t win today, all I came for is £22,500. I have to be honest, I knew I couldn’t win,” Williams told WST.

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I had many chances, but I kept missing the easy balls, but I got a break that I wasn’t expecting.

“It was great to play in this arena, I probably won’t play here again, I don’t know. It’s some kind of arena, so huge and I’m glad I did at least once.

On his quick visit, Williams explained: “I’m diligent, I slept like two hours in two days. I got to my hotel room around 10:30am and was picked up at 11.45am to come and play my game.

I knew I wasn’t going to win but I did my best and somehow got three tyres. [It was] a stranger. Without this award, I would not have come.

Robertson had to play well to defeat Williams, as the Australian broke a whopping 140 in the fifth frame and was sympathetic to his opponent given his circumstances.

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I felt a little for him because he came at the last minute. “He arrived just two hours before our game and then he scored 133 goals at the start, it was absolutely unbelievable,” Robertson said.

“I thought it best to keep it going as well, I’ve made myself for two centuries and when you play in front of a big audience like this it is important that you play the game the right way and in a way that the fans will really enjoy.

SNOOKER-HKG-MASTERS

Neil Robertson won the last edition of the Hong Kong Masters in 2017 (Image: Getty Images)

Going out and making 133 frames first was really incredible. I think late in the game he might have gotten a little tired, but he nevertheless put in a really good game and I did my homework too.

On the vast arena in Hong Kong, the Masters champion said, “So amazing. We heard all about this arena before we went out. Seeing so many people here today is amazing.

The playing conditions were beautiful and the fans were amazing. It was similar to a tennis court or something, it’s absolutely unbelievable.”

Robertson now plays either Ronnie O’Sullivan or Ng Eun Yi in Saturday’s semi-finals, while Marco Fo and John Higgins meet in the other semi-finals.

more : Marco Fu enjoys a ‘special’ win at the Hong Kong Masters after he thought the snooker run was over

MORE: Mark Williams takes on a crazy schedule after the Hong Kong Masters was called up at the last minute

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