Snooker ace Chris Wakelin taking it one match at a time after progressing in Northern Ireland Open - The Rugby Observer

Snooker ace Chris Wakelin taking it one match at a time after progressing in Northern Ireland Open

Steve Carpenter 14th Nov, 2016 Updated: 18th Nov, 2016   0

SNOOKER: CHRIS Wakelin eased into the last 64 of the Coral Northern Ireland Open on Monday, but the Rugby potter insists there is still plenty of work to do.

While the scoreline suggests a rather comfortable result, Wakelin insists that was far from the case, missing a key spark in his 4-1 success over James Wattana at Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre.

But breaks of 51 and 54 in the third frame, followed by a 61 in the last, ensured there was no early exit for the world No.66.

But Wakelin, who knocked out Ronnie O’Sullivan on the way to last month’s Coral English Open quarter-finals, feels his game will have to go up a level or two if he is to repeat the feat in Manchester.

He said: “It was far from the best performance from either of us, we weren’t able to get a rhythm so in the end I was happy just to win four scrappy frames and go into Wednesday’s game.

“I won the tactical battle but had a couple of bad shots in the last one or two frames, so I’ve got some work to do, but hopefully I can use the day off to regroup and relax.

“I don’t think I was 100 per cent focused at all times which, if you want to play and beat the top players, then you have to be. You’re asking for trouble if not, so I need to relax a bit more.

“But it’s something to work on. I’ve been eating a lot healthier and just got generally fitter, but perhaps it was just an off-day and I can come back stronger.”

Despite his far from perfect performance, Wakelin was left relieved just to make it to the second-round stage.

The 24-year-old will once again goes in as favourite, this time against China’s Zhang Anda, who whitewashed Welshman Ian Preece 4-0 on Monday evening.

And while Wakelin insists he’s taking things one match at a time, he’d be forgiven for casting a glance at a potential last-32 match-up with O’Sullivan, likely to be a man on a mission after their earlier Coral Home Nations Series defeat.

“You’d rather win playing the worst game of all time than make three centuries and go out 4-3,” he added.

“I’m still in the tournament, I’ve still got a chance and there’s no point going out there trying to impress anyone – all that matters is if you’re still here come the next game.

“You have to take it one game at a time. The moment you look too far ahead is where you get unstuck, so it’s about making sure you do the job right.”

Watch the Northern Ireland Open LIVE on Eurosport 1 and Quest, featuring daily studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.


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