Mark Williams defies gout to beat Barry Hawkins at World Grand Prix

Mark Williams became world snooker champions for the third time in 2018

Mark Williams defied a bout of gout to beat Barry Hawkins 4-2 in the first round of snooker’s World Grand Prix.

The three-time world champion was given special dispensation to wear a slipper-style soft shoe on his left foot.

Gout can cause sudden extreme pain and Welshman Williams said it felt as if “someone has hit my big toe with a hammer” in a tweet at the weekend.

“I didn’t think I could win but I wanted to give it a go,” said Williams after limping to victory.

“Barry struggled, probably because he saw me limping around the table and it put him off.

“A couple of days ago I couldn’t stick it. I was lying on the floor screaming. I have been on the tablets since Monday and now it is 10 times better. The doctor says it should clear up within the next couple of days.”

Williams will face Australian Neil Robertson in the last 16 in Cheltenham on Thursday afternoon.

Five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan survived a scare against Liang Wenbo to set up a quarter-final against Graeme Dott.

Liang – who had trailed 2-0 and 3-2 – had the deciding frame at his mercy but failed to get on the green after potting a straightforward yellow.

And he then allowed O’Sullivan, who had made a 132 break in the fifth frame, to clear following a poor shot on the brown.

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