Kettering's Kyren has his eyes on the prize
Kyren Wilson was a runner-up in the event two years ago but has eyes only for the 19.com English Open prize despite stuttering into the last 32.
The 27-year-old was handed an awkward second round tie against Chinese 17-year-old Bai Langning – who had knocked out snooker legend Jimmy White in his opener – and struggled to find his rhythm for long periods.
But despite limping towards the latter stages of the competition, Wilson believes he is in ideal shape to add to his German Masters win earlier this year.
“I don’t see why I can’t win the trophy,” said Wilson, who plays Tom Ford in the last 32 this morning (Thursday).
“I’m playing really well, although it probably doesn’t look like it from that match.
“We both made mistakes and although it sounds amateurish you can lose concentration at times when you don’t necessarily feel under threat.
“He looks like a very talented potter, but he perhaps showed his inexperience at times which helped see me through.
“But I do feel that my game is where it needs to be. The break-building side of things is going well, I’ve felt consistent across some of the other tournaments and I’ve just got to hope it clicks when it really matters.”
Wilson raced into an early lead but had to level the tie at 2-2 after Bai got his nose in front.
The world No.9 looked on course for a straight-forward win at 3-2, but after being pegged back, had to be on cue to make sure in the decider.
Despite the tight scoreline, Wilson showed his class at times throughout the contest, posting four half-centuries as he clinched a spot in the next round.
And with a hectic period on the horizon in the snooker world, with the UK Championship – the first of three Triple Crown events – just over a month away, he knows a good run in the 19.com English Open could aid his season’s credentials.
He said: “In the decider I felt a bit tense and under a bit of pressure, but other than that I felt calm.
“It’s nice to have a tournament in the UK because we’re used to doing a lot of long-haul travelling, and we’re off to China very shortly and there is plenty going on over the next few weeks.
“But at the moment, I’m just concentrating on what’s going on now and I have my eyes on getting my hands on the trophy.”
Watch the English Open live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White