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Snooker: Cool Mark closing in on victory.

Byline: TONY STENSON

MARK Williams looked in unstoppable form as he raced into a 11-5 lead over Ken Doherty in the Embassy World Championship final at the Crucible Theatre last night.

Williams had begun the second session 14-1 on to collect his second world crown after establishing a 7-1 advantage over the 1997 champion.

And the Welshman added three of the first four frames before the mid-session interval - with the aid of two sparkling centuries.

It left Williams needing just seven more frames for victory in the best-of-33 contest and would require a Herculean effort even by the standards of comeback king Doherty who had recovered from 15-9 down to defeat Paul Hunter 17-16 in the semi-final.

Doherty gave himself a glimmer of a hope by taking the first frame of the evening with the aid of a run of 47 to the final blue.But it was a false dawn for the 33-year-old who went into the final having figured in 98 frames during the competition compared to the 72 of Williams - although he added the final two frames after the interval to offer some chance of a comeback.

Doherty had earlier paid the penalty for missing a long red in the next and he had to stay in his chair as Williams put together a 118 clearance to the black.

Breaks of 40 and 31 were sufficient to give Williams the next and then a 101 in frame 12 left him in total command at the interval.

The first session had mirrored Williams' semi-final clash with Stephen Lee which also ended with a 7-1 scoreline and an eventual 17-8 success.

Doherty may be made of sterner stuff but Williams is unlikely to lose his nerve and composure in the same way as Hunter.

CAPTION(S):

LOSING: Ken Doherty
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 5, 2003
Words:300
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