Jamie Clarke was delighted to oust Mark Williams and reach the second round of the UK Championship on Monday in York.
The Welshman, who came through three rounds of the qualifying tournament last week, beat the two-time former champion 6-3 at the Barbican Centre.
Williams suffered from an unfortunately timed bout of food poisoning which helped Clarke’s cause, but the 28 year-old didn’t let his esteemed opponent’s troubles distract him.
“It was quite special,” Jamie Clarke told the World Snooker Tour after reaching the last 16 of the UK Championship for the first time.
“At the start I was a bit nervous, and then when I started getting into the game a bit more and finding my touch, I started feeling quite good.”
“I realised where I was at 4-3 or 5-3. If I wouldn’t have got the match done or killed it off, I would have been really, really disappointed.
“I was just really happy I held my nerve. I’m not used to these sorts of situations – hopefully one day I’ll be used to them – but at the moment it’s still a bit new to me with the big crowds and the live TV.
“I think every professional in any sport has looked on things they want to improve. I just saw the top players, and they were doing very similar things.
“In all sports they talked about pre-shot routines, so I thought I’d give it a little go. I’ve done it the last couple of years, and when you’re really under pressure and you’re shaking like a leaf, it’s nice to have something to fall back on.
“I do mind (drawing the top players), because they are better than you. You’re going out there, and as well as being under pressure, you know they are the favourites.
“Maybe they don’t feel used to it but they are used to it, they’ve won tournaments and everything. I’m on my way up the rankings, I’m hoping I can be in their position one day.”
Fellow qualifier Ding Junhui will stand in Clarke’s way of a spot in the quarter-finals, with the pair set to clash on Thursday.
“In everyone’s mind, he’s a top eight player. I don’t know what’s happened to him the last couple of years.”
“COVID must have been tough, because he wasn’t able to go home. It’s similar to a lot of the Chinese players, and I feel a bit sorry for them.
“They are over here in a different country, they can only go home once or twice a year, but it looks like Ding is back to his best so I’ll have to be on my form to beat him.”
Featured image credit: WST