CHRIS Wakelin insists it doesn’t get any better than this after claiming the biggest win of his career by beating Ronnie O’Sullivan at the English Open on Thursday.
World No.70 Wakelin had already triumphed over Allan Taylor and Anthony McGill at EventCity, Manchester this week but his 4-3 victory over five-time world champion O’Sullivan in the last 32 will be the one that has the snooker world sitting up and taking notice.
In truth, the Rugby potter should have won 4-2, only to miss the final, match-clinching pink, and also looked set to cruise through the last frame before missing a simple black off its spot.
But the 24-year-old eventually put those jitters to one side to close out the match – and insists that despite his underdog status, he always believed he could cause the upset.
“I went into the match feeling that if I played well I could definitely nick a couple of frames,” said Wakelin, who also made his maiden TV century with a 106 in frame four.
“In my heart of hearts I did believe I could win. Ronnie wasn’t playing 100 per cent so I knew I would get chances, it was just a matter of if I would take them or not.
“I had exactly the same pink [that he missed, scuppering his chances of a 4-2 win] yesterday against Anthony McGill to go 3-1 up and I missed that as well!
“That’s what I was thinking lining up the shot – however I play this, I don’t think I can pot it! I was feeling negative.
“But I didn’t really think about that frame once it was over. Once you’ve missed the opportunity, you’ve got to look forward and think ‘I’m not out, it could have been worse’.
“It could have been 3-3 when I butchered that pink, so I went into the last frame thinking ‘if I get a sniff, any long red, I’m going for it’.
“I did try to throw it away two or three times but thankfully I finally managed to get over the line!
“It would have been a really sweet victory to do it in one visit but getting over the line against Ronnie in any way is tough, so I’m over the moon. It doesn’t get any better than beating Ronnie on TV.”
Wakelin’s victory was undoubtedly the highlight of his snooker career to date but he has little time to savour it, with a last-16 clash to play at 7pm this evening.
And the Warwickshire man is hoping to ride a wave of momentum from his victory over ‘the Rocket’ right into the quarter-finals.
“I’m looking forward to playing tonight,” added Wakelin. “I went into this morning thinking that I could win if I played well but I’ve got nothing to lose.
“If I can get through tonight’s match then I’m in very good shape. It doesn’t matter who you play – if you play well in every match, you can win.
“My biggest flaw at the minute is that I tend to miss a couple of easy balls in every match, so if I can cut that out, I’ve got a lot more in the tank.”
Watch the English Open LIVE on Eurosport 1 and Quest, featuring daily studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.