Joe Perry put all the experience of his 25-year career to perfect use this morning (November 23) to ease his way through to the last 16 in the Dafabet Northern Ireland Open.
The Chatteris potter was moved to the outside tables in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall, but it mattered little as he breezed to a 4-1 victory over Xiao Guodong in the third round.
A second match of the day will therefore come Perry’s way as he takes on Mike Dunn tonight bidding for a second ranking quarter-final of the season.
But it was the mental resolve that most pleased the world No.22, confident of any challenges that may come his way en route to a potential second ranking event crown.
“I felt alright out there. It was a bit different playing on one of the back tables but if anything they played better, quicker and there was a different atmosphere in there,” he said.
“You’ve really got to keep your head and concentrate, experience played a part towards the end and I needed that at times, staying composed and getting the job done.
“I got off to a good start but nearly lost the first frame which would have been unfortunate. He had a good chance to clear up but snookered himself and the momentum was with me at that point.
“Now it’s just about finding things to do in the afternoon to keep yourself occupied. First things first I’ll find a hotel, get a bit of lunch and perhaps watch a bit of the snooker before coming back tonight.
“I feel good, it’s another tough game, you’re in the last 16 so whoever you’re up against they’ve had to win a few games to get there so you know you’re in for a tough match.”
Perry came within three shots of a first 147 maximum break of his career in the second round, replicating his Belfast form against Xiao.
Snatching a tight first frame, Perry saw his lead quickly grow to go 3-0 up within the blink of an eye, just one away from victory following a half-century break.
That prompted his Chinese opponent to fight back and narrow the deficit, but it wasn’t enough to stop Perry marching on to the last-16.
Watch the Northern Ireland Open LIVE on Eurosport, Eurosport Player and Quest with Colin Murray and daily studio analysis with Neal Foulds