Joe Perry admits he sees himself as a genuine World Snooker Championship title contender for the first time in his career after booking his place in the second round in Sheffield.
The Chatteris potter turned an 8-1 first session lead into a 10-4 victory last night (April 22) over world number 98 Zhang Anda, the lowest-ranked player in the tournament.
Zhang won the first three frames of the evening session, including a 132 break, but Perry held his nerve to reel off the next two and seal the victory.
The 40-year-old won the first ranking event title of his career, the PTC Finals, last month and claims his self-belief is now at an all-time high.
“I’ve had a good season, I’m happy confident and enjoying my snooker – I’m here to win,” explained Perry.
“I’ve achieved something I’ve always wanted to achieve by winning a ranking event and I’ve now got the belief that when the opportunity comes my way I can win that big match.
“I don’t think I’ve ever come here before genuinely believing I could win even though I’ve always believed I was good enough to beat anyone I was pitted up against.
“I’ve won a tournament this season with every single player in it and this is no different to that.”
Perry will almost certainly play Shaun Murphy in round two – the 2005 world champion leads Robin Hull 7-2 ahead of this evening’s final session.
And after an assured performance, the world number nine is confident his game can compete with the best in the tournament.
“I did’t really think about the evening session – it was a difficult situation being 8-1 up against someone not playing well,” added Perry.
“But in the morning at 0-0 I felt really good and I played a really solid session. My safety was good which it will have to be looking at potential opponents.”
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