http://www.worldsnooker.com/world_open_ ... tm?tid=167
Some fine performances in the PTC series have seen worldsnooker.com columnist Dominic Dale make up for a costly mistake in the Shanghai qualifiers...
After a shaky start to the season I've managed to do well in the last two Star Xing Pai Players Tour Championship events. I got to the last 16 of PTC3, beating Simon Bedford, Neil Robertson and Barry Pinches before losing to Andy Hicks. Then in PTC4 I got to the semi-finals, winning five matches before losing 4-3 to Ronnie O'Sullivan. I played well in both events, and I needed the ranking points because I lost my qualifying match for the Roewe Shanghai Masters, 5-1 against Michael White.
I didn’t help myself by arriving at the venue eight minutes before I was due to play. I decided to prepare myself mentally at the hotel rather than at the venue, which was a mistake I won’t repeat. Then the taxi I had booked from the hotel didn’t turn up and I was worried that I would miss my start time and be docked a frame. I’d left my phone in the hotel room, but then luckily I bumped into Rob Milkins and he drove me to the venue. But I still felt quite stressed and wasn’t able to calm down until I was 2-0 behind. I still had time to come back, but just couldn’t settle. It was very disappointing to fail to qualify for a tournament I won three years ago. Luckily that didn’t affect my confidence, and I came back strongly at the PTC events.
I am really enjoying the PTC tournaments and they are great in terms of keeping you sharp between the main ranking events, plus earning some extra money and ranking points if you can win matches. I think the best way to treat them is like pro-ams, so you can take a bit of pressure off yourself.
It was interesting that in PTC3 Tom Ford played his first match in a t-shirt and jeans, then decided to change into his snooker gear for his next one because he didn’t feel it was a real match. Every credit to him for recognising something that could help him and acting on it, and obviously it worked because he won the tournament. I watched the first couple of frames of the final against Jack Lisowski and he didn’t miss a ball. I think he proved that at least 20 or 30 players have the capacity to win the PTC events, and at least 50 have the ability to get to the semi-finals. The events are ideal for the likes of Jack, to gain experience and play matches against the top players.
As I’ve written in this column before, my situation in Vienna is not ideal in terms of preparing for tournaments. I have a great set up in the club I play in, but there is a lack of quality opposition to practise with, which means that you can’t recreate the feeling of being under pressure. You only feel pressure at certain crucial moments in a frame, like when you have to pot a ball which will win you or lose you the frame. But if you don’t feel that your opponent is going to take advantage, then it doesn’t matter as much. Peter Ebdon is living in Hungary now and I think he will find the same. I feel that I’m playing as well as ever in practice, but your confidence tends to dwindle a bit as you get older, and you can only get that back by winning matches. From now on I will be spending more time at the South West Snooker Academy, spending at least a few days there before tournaments.
Now I’m looking forward to the World Open qualifiers this weekend, preparing as well as I can and hoping to get through to the venue.
All the best for now
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