Kettering’s Kyren Wilson insists he is an entirely different prospect at the table after negotiating the first hurdle at the UK Snooker Championship.
The 22-year-old overcame Gary Wilson 6-5 at the York Barbican on Thursday evening in a hard-fought contest.
Kyren Wilson raced into a two-frame lead before his opponent levelled proceedings, the match then see-sawed before the county potter held his nerve to win a final-frame decider with two early breaks of 32 and 24.
And the world No.63 could not hide his relief after getting himself over the line.
“When he missed the final ball I felt like going over and hugging him to be honest,” he said.
“I missed three blues to win different frames and made life hard for myself.
“I’m starting well at the minute but my concentration keeps fading. I’ve got to work at that and sustain it throughout the whole match.
“But I think a couple of years ago I’d have thrown my toys out the pram in a match like that. I knew I had to dig deep, and I probably didn’t have that in my locker a couple of years ago.
“Being on the main tour definitely hardens you up as you’ve got to fight for your place, so I think I’m a much tougher player now.”
Kyren Wilson now faces a stern test in world No.2 Neil Robertson in the next round tomorrow (Sunday) but admits it will be a relief to get to the table with no real pressure to win.
After exploding onto the tour last year the youngster reckons he has had a target painted on his back, but he is happy to play the underdog in his second-round clash with Robertson.
He added: “When you have a good season you feel exposed as everyone out there wants to beat you. I’m not a surprise package anymore – now a lot of players know what to expect so I have to be on my guard.
“But I’m obviously an underdog against Neil so I’ll just try and enjoy it and hopefully play my best game. I want to beat him and I’ll try my hardest.”
Meanwhile, Wellingborough’s Rory McLeod is expecting the tournament to keep getting tougher after he beat Ian Burns 6-2 in his first round match.
Next up is Zhang Anda, who beat world No.15 Ali Carter in his opener, and McLeod is preparing himself for another stern test.
“All these are very tough matches and I’m just happy to be in the next round,” McLeod said. “You can’t give anything away to any of these players.
“When your practice is going well you just want to be able to bring that to the matches, and keep your momentum going.
“So I’m just happy to be there and hopefully going forward I’ll keep doing the right things.”
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