Day confident of claiming first title on home soil

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Date: Feb. 13, 2007
Publisher: MGN Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 403 words
Lexile Measure: 1860L

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Ryan day is convinced his big breakthrough is only a matter of time. Day, 26, has never been more confident of his ability to capture one of snooker's major titles after reaching the final of the Malta Cup eight days ago following victories over Matthew Stevens and Peter Ebdon.

The world No 17 from Pontycymmer, near Bridgend, is so confident he believes his first trophy in eight years as a professional might well be lifted on home soil at this week's Welsh Open in Newport.

'I think I'm as good as the likes of Ding Junhui, Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson and that I can perform in the same vein. I've always put myself in that category. I wouldn't hold any fear against them,' he insisted.

Day launches his bid for the pounds 35,000 first prize against Dubliner Michael Judge today well aware that another extended run could help seal his debut in the game's top 16 next season.

'If I can do well at Newport my top 16 place might be pretty much guaranteed,' he said. 'After Malta I'm 12th in the provisional rankings but I didn't qualify for the China Open in March. That's why this week is so important for me.'

After losing 9-4 to Murphy in the Malta Cup final, the Welshman took a couple of days off before returning to practice and he has been encouraged by his form since.

'I still feel as though I'm hitting the ball nicely,' he insisted. 'I've played Michael twice before and beaten him both times, but I know that counts for nothing. I've just got to keep my focus.'

Day is one of four Welshmen in the 48-man field along with Ian Preece, Mark Williams and Stevens, who has slumped to 21st in the provisional rankings and is in danger of being relegated from the top 16 after spending eight consecutive seasons as a member of the elite.

Newport's own Preece was on the receiving end of a first-round whitewash, going down 5-0 to England's Mark Selby yesterday.

Selby willnow face Stevens in the last 32 while Williams, in the midst of a worrying sequence of results himself, tackles Rob Milkins or Jamie Burnett.

Williams has fallen at the opening hurdle in both outings this year - at the Saga Insurance Masters and Malta Cup.

Ronnie O'Sullivan is the favourite to win the event for the third time in four years.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A159230638