Ryan Day has admitted it is “imperative” that he qualifies for next week’s Players Championship in Llandudno ahead of the Gibraltar Open on Friday.
The world number 18 is currently 16th on the one-year list but, with Mark Williams and Joe Perry still able to overtake him, needs a good run at the Victoria Stadium to secure the final place in the 16-man field at Venue Cymru and keep his hopes of automatic qualification for the World Championship alive.
Having failed to qualify for the China Open later this month, the next two events will provide Day with his final opportunity to break into the world’s top 16 ahead of the seeding cut-off point for the Crucible.
The Welshman is fully aware of what is at stake this weekend and, although disappointed not to be appearing in Beijing in a few weeks’ time, will look to use the extended break to his advantage.
“There’s a couple of players that can catch me, but I’ll be concentrating on my own game and see what happens in the end,” he told livesnooker.com.
“It’s imperative that I qualify to give me any chance of being in the top 16 before the cut-off for the Crucible.
“If I’m not in Llandudno then I’ll be in the qualifying rounds, which I don’t think any player wants to go through.
“When you’re playing well, you want to play all the time. However, I’ve got to make the best of not playing in China and I’ll be using that time to prepare as best I can for Sheffield.”
Having reached the World Grand Prix final in February, Day arrives in Gibraltar in good form after also appearing in Championship League showpiece on Thursday.
Despite the 36-year-old being outclassed 3-0 by an inspired John Higgins, he earned a record £32,600 for his efforts over two months in the internet-streamed event.
Understandably, those runs have given him a lot of self-belief going into the last stretch of the season.
“I’m feeling confident and looking forward to the tournaments that are coming up,” he admitted.
“Playing in the Championship League week in and week out with plenty of match practice has helped me this year.
“I’ve then had a couple of wins in bigger events which have given me a much-needed confidence boost.”
Although, Day’s exertions at the Ricoh Arena this week have resulted in a quick turnaround between the conclusion of the Championship League and the start of his Gibraltar Open campaign on Friday.
Just over 12 hours since his showdown with Higgins, the Pontycymer cueist is in first-round action against amateur Phil O’Kane at the Victoria Stadium.
While he admits the scenario is far from ideal, the four-time ranking event finalist has identified the positive side of the equation.
“The logistics of getting from Coventry on Thursday night to play in Gibraltar on Friday afternoon is going to be difficult,” he added.
“Hopefully, I can just go there, not be too tired and be able to play OK.
“You just have to get on with it. It means you’ve gone deep in tournaments when they are literally back-to-back, so that’s one positive to take from it.”