Ryan Day took 19 seasons to finally get his hands on ranking silverware, but following his ManBetX Gibraltar Open win on Sunday, the Welshman has now collected two titles in a single campaign.
We caught up with Day, who also won the Riga Masters last June, to reflect on claiming his second ranking crown.
Ryan, congratulations on the win in Gibraltar. Do you feel that having backed up your maiden victory at the Riga Masters with another ranking title, you will now have heightened confidence when competing at the business end of tournaments?
“I didn’t actually feel that different after winning in Riga. However, having now won twice I think I will feel far more comfortable in the latter stages of events. Those matches are all about strength of character and you need that to be able to make the transition from reaching quarter and semi-finals to winning tournaments. You don’t want to be falling over the line, I think now I will be able to play more assertively in those situations.”
You reached four ranking finals prior to your first victory. Do you have any regrets not getting over the line in one of those and gaining the added confidence boost earlier in your career?
“I’m not really one for looking back, but who knows what could have happened. I played against Dominic Dale in the 2007 Shanghai Masters final. I had a 6-2 lead in that match, but he played really well to fight back and win 10-6. If I had got over the line then maybe I could be sat here with several ranking wins under my belt. However, I want to look at things going forward and I hope that these victories can kickstart things.”
You are currently in 17th spot in the race to the Crucible. Having not qualified for the China Open, what stage do you feel you need to get to at next week’s Ladbrokes Players Championship to stand a chance of breaking into that top 16?
“I think realistically I need to get to the semi-finals to have any chance of avoiding the World Championship qualifiers. That is obviously my first target for next week, so hopefully I can manage that and then go from there.
“The qualifiers are very difficult, as it is three best of 19 matches over the space of a few days. It is pretty draining and comes right before the main event gets underway at the Crucible. You want to avoid it if you can, but I have been there and come through qualifying many times before. If I need to do it, I can draw on my experiences and I will be prepared for it.
“I reached the semi-finals of the UK Championship before Christmas, where I needed a run to qualify for the Masters. It is slightly different this time because back then I was in the top 16 and others were chasing me, now I am the one doing the chasing. However, once the match starts that is all you think about and qualifying for things goes to the back of your mind. I play against Mark Selby in the first round in Llandudno and it is always a great occasion playing against the World Champion. I lost 5-4 to him last year at the Players Championship so hopefully the result will be different this time around.”
You have had your difficulties finding the right cue since your old one was broken in Thailand earlier in the season. Following your win at the weekend do you think you have now settled with this cue?
“I’ve had this cue for a couple of weeks now and I am very comfortable with it. The first time I used it was actually against Kurt Dunham at the Welsh Open. It only arrived in Cardiff 15 minutes before the match, but I played a couple of shots with it and realised it was exactly what I was looking for. Even though I lost the match, I would definitely still have played with it if I had my time again. I had some good results with the cue I was using prior to Christmas, but it still wasn’t quite what I was looking for. It is nice to now be able to put that to bed and just concentrate on the snooker and the events coming up for the rest of the season.”
You can watch Day live in action at next week’s Ladbrokes Players Championship in Llandudno. Click here to purchase your tickets, but act quickly as certain sessions are expected to sell out.