Mark Williams to play in Northern Ireland Open final despite wife falling ill

Image: Mark Williams is seeking his first ranking title since 2011

Mark Williams opted to go ahead with Sunday's Northern Ireland Open final after a nervous night when his wife was taken ill.

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Williams beat Elliott Slessor 6-2 in his semi-final on Saturday but later revealed on Twitter that his wife Joanne had been taken to hospital, adding: "Last thing I want is to pull out now but we will have to wait and see."

World Snooker clarified that Williams had not withdrawn and was "monitoring his personal situation".

Just after 11am on Sunday, two hours before play was due to start against Yan Bingtao, Williams tweeted: "Right, better get ready for the first session of the final then."

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn was among those to show support as he responded: "Good luck Mark. Hope all is well back home."

It will be the 31st ranking final of Williams' career. He has won 18 of those titles but none since 2011.

Seventeen-year-old Yan, meanwhile, is bidding to beat Ronnie O'Sullivan's record as the youngest ever winner of a ranking title.

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