Mark Williams: World champion beaten 6-3 by Neil Robertson at the Masters

Mark Williams: World champion beaten 6-3 by Neil Robertson at the Masters
Masters 2019: Neil Robertson knocks out world champion Mark Williams – best shots
2019 Dafabet Masters
Venue: Alexandra Palace, London Dates: 13-20 January
Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

World champion Mark Williams was knocked out of the Masters as Neil Robertson won five straight frames to claim a 6-3 victory in the first round.

Welshman Williams took a 3-1 lead before the Australian fought back with breaks of 59, 102 and 69.

World number 10 Robertson failed to qualify for the Masters last year but big pots at crucial stages helped seal his place in the quarter-finals.

He will face Barry Hawkins, who beat Shaun Murphy 6-2 later on Tuesday.

Robertson admitted he had to step up the pace against Williams.

“I had to force myself to play the way I do in practice in terms of the tempo. That’s what I did and I got going and felt absolutely fantastic,” he said.

“To beat the world champion today was a huge step in the right direction.”

Williams admitted a lack of practice and said defending his world title at the Crucible in April was the “only tournament” he was looking forward to.

“I played poor all the way through really. I was expecting to play like that, to be honest, because I’ve hardly touched my cue.”

Hawkins, the world number seven, had looked set for an early finish after he raced into a 5-0 lead following clearances of 86, 124 and 60.

In doing so, Hawkins became the 20th player to reach 300 career centuries.

Murphy, the 2015 Masters champion, sparked hopes of a comeback with a break of 74 to take the sixth frame before reducing the deficit again – but it was only delaying the inevitable.

“Anything can happen in this game and if he goes 5-3 then all of a sudden I’d start feeling it a little bit more. I was pleased to get over the line at last,” Hawkins said.

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