Kyren Wilson has broken into snooker’s top 20 for the first time in his career.
But, despite reaching the semi-finals of the German Masters in Berlin last week, the Kettering star returned home with more than a hint of disappointment.
In an all-Northamptonshire clash, Wilson came from 4-1 down to beat Wellingborough man Rory McLeod 5-4 in the first round and that set the tone for what was to follow.
Wilson beat Michael Holt in a deciding frame to move into the quarter-finals and then came from 3-1 and 4-2 down to wrap up another 5-4 victory over Ryan Day.
But he was unable to reach a second ranking final as he went down 6-3 to Luca Brecel in Saturday’s semi-final.
The run to the last four elevated Wilson to number 19 in the world rankings.
But the Shanghai Masters champion was left frustrated by his overall performance in Germany and insists he will be working even harder to improve.
“I am not really satisfied at all,” Wilson said.
“I just played absolutely awful all week. I wasn’t fluent at all.
“But I guess the good thing is that is shows I don’t always have to play well to win.
“I didn’t play well all week but I still beat three top-class players and even in the semi-final I had the chance for a clearance to make it 6-4 but got a massive kick on the yellow.
“I tried to hang in there but the week has shown me that I am capable of finding other ways to win.
“I am up to a career-best 19th in the world. The aim is to get into the top 16 and I am hoping it won’t take me long to get there.
“I just have to keep doing the right things. I got back from Berlin on Sunday morning and went straight down to the club with my coach to work on a few things.
“I don’t want to stop where I am, I want to keep improving.”
The German Masters signalled the start of a busy month for Wilson.
And any disappointments about last week were swept away in Barnsley last night as he produced a sparkling display to qualify for the China Open.
The Kettering man knocked in an outstanding four century breaks with the top one being 125 as he beat Anthony Hamilton 5-3..
He wil now be heading to Reading for the Coral Shoot-Out – a one-frame knockout competition which is being screened on ITV4 – in which he will play Li Hang in the first round of Saturday.
Then comes the BetVictor Welsh Open at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff where he is drawn to play Leo Fernandez in the first round before he goes on to play in Group Five of the Championship League in Essex on February 22 and 23.
And a mammoth month of action is rounded off with the Gdynia Open in Poland.
It’s all building up towards the Betfred World Championship at the Crucible in April.
Wilson added: “It’s a very busy period coming up and I am looking forward to it.
“It’s all building towards the Crucible and I want to head into that feeling good about everything.
“I am having the best season of my life but I will keep working hard and keep improving.”
McLeod is also in action in Reading this weekend as he faces Mark Williams in the Coral Shoot-Out on Saturday while a first-round clash with Michael Wasley awaits in the Welsh Open, which gets under way next Monday.