CELEBRATING his 43rd Birthday this week, Mark Williams already came to the Players Championship in Llandudno in fine form - and he delivered a knockout against his pal Ryan Day in the quarter-finals.

The Welsh Potting Machine, as he is nicknamed, played four exquisite frames of perfect snooker in the first mini session where it took just over an hour to go 4 - 0 up on the in form Welshman Day.

Day had already picked up two titles in the space of a week in Gibraltar and Romania, but it was Williams who set the tone of the match with two tons, a 124, and this brilliant 141 (see video below).

Day managed a valiant fightback after the mid-session interval but it was Williams who managed to get over the line 6 - 3.

His 141 is the highest break of the tournament so far, and could see him pocket 5K.

Class of 92 Domination

Williams is one of two players from the Class Of 92 still left in the event after the shock of Anthony McGill whitewashing John Higgins 6 - 0 - although, McGill is a formidable player and in tight circles the defeat wasn't so shocking as Scotland's Alan McManus said in commentary.

Day and Williams have an impressive six titles between them - but it appears as if Day will likely have to qualify for the Crucible in April in Sheffield.

Day didn't qualify for the China Open, the final ranking event before the World Championship.

What a difference a season makes

Coming up to the World Championships last year, Mark Williams looked like, and eventually did have to go to Ponds Forge in Sheffield and play three gruelling best of 19's to qualify for the Crucible as he had been knocked out of the top 16.

He failed to get to the Crucible as he was knocked out by Grimsby's Stuart Carrington in the final round of qualifying 10 - 7.

This season, he has teamed up with Steve Feeney and SightRight and a lot of hard work and effort has seen him win three titles, two ranking and one non-ranking, and he is guaranteed this year to be a seed at the Crucible.

The China Open begins at the beginning of April, the 2nd to the 8th.

With 225K as the first prize and a runner-up of 90K, this event is set to be make or break for some players who could see themselves as a seed at the Crucible if they have a great run in the tournament.

With so many good players around, if you're already a seed, there are definitely players that you will be dreading playing in the first round at the Crucible.

The age-old question rears its ugly head every season end before the Crucible:

Can a qualifier win eight matches to lift the World title? Discuss...