JOE PERRY made a fine recovery to set up a second round meeting with defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Dafabet World Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield on Monday.
Perry, a semi-finalist in 2008, was trailing Jamie Burnett 6-3 overnight but won seven of the eight frames on the resumption to win 10-7.
He said: “I’m pleased with myself today. I dug in and stuck with it. I don’t think I played overly bad yesterday, it was just that Jamie punished me for my mistakes. I knew if I got chances I’d have to make more of them.”
Perry swiftly won the first two frames of the morning with breaks of 87, 55 and 70 to trail only 6-5 before winning a scrappy 37 minute battle to draw level. The Englishman then pinched the last before the interval by potting a long pink and adding the black.
Perry won a 32 minute frame for 8-6 but gave Burnett a chance in the next by owning up to a foul. However, the Scot missed a black on 17 and Perry did enough for 9-6.
Burnett’s only moment of cheer came in frame 16, which he won with his only century in four Crucible appearances, a run of 111. Perry, though, made 81 in the next to cross the winning line.
The 39 year-old is now set to face O’Sullivan in the last 16 on Thursday. Perry said: “It doesn’t get any tougher than Ronnie O’Sullivan but, saying that, I would have been absolutely gutted to be sat at home watching Jamie play him. At least I get to play him.
“We all have to believe that we can win. If we play our absolute best and cut at the errors, and he isn’t at his best, then he’s beatable. At the end of the day it’s a game of snooker. It’ll be a really tough one, but it’s a game of snooker.
“Ronnie’s an intimidating character. He’s so majestic round the table, but if you want to be really critical and analyse every game he plays, somewhere along the line someone he’s playing will get a chance to maybe play a better safety shot or a more telling one. If you play perfect snooker, you’ll win.”
Burnett, who has never won a match at the Crucible, was downbeat after another defeat. He said: “It was the exact opposite to yesterday. I didn’t feel it today and wasn’t up for the game. I don’t know why.
“I didn’t feel I was cueing well at all. I was really upset with the table. When you qualify you expect the conditions to be perfect but it was same for both of us.
“I’ve lost a lot of enjoyment for snooker. I don’t practise a lot. It’s not the same for me. I’m 39 shortly and I’m a bit fed up with it. I’m interested for the big tournaments but I don’t put pressure on myself. If I were to drop off the tour it wouldn’t make any difference to me.
“I think Barry Hearn is good for snooker but it’s all right for him to say there’s more prize money when it’s also more expensive. You’ve got loads of flights and you’re travelling to China half the season, where you need to play a wildcard. If you lose that you don’t get any money. If you’re not in the top 16 it’s very, very tough.”
Mark Selby fell apart after holding a 5-1 lead over Michael White, who pulled back to trail only 5-4 at the halfway stage.
White, a quarter-finalist last year, was all at sea early on but salvaged the fourth frame to trail 3-1 at the interval. Even so, when Selby advanced to 5-1 a heavy defeat looked a distinct possibility.
But Selby, the World Championship runner-up in 2007, missed a red to a corner pocket with a chance to win the seventh frame and everything went wrong after that. White eventually snookered him on the last red and though Selby made contact at the second attempt, he was unlucky to go in-off, gifting the frame to the Welshman.
Errors grew on both sides in the eighth, with Selby unlucky again with a kick on a pink. White won this frame and the last of the session to trail by only one ahead of the resumption tonight.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.