Jak Jones has already conquered a string of huge tests on his run to the World Championship quarter-final, so is unfazed as he prepares to take on ‘best player of the season’ Mark Allen in the last eight.
The 29-year-old is enjoying an incredible Crucible debut, having done brilliantly just to reach the venue by beating Adam Duffy, Robbie Williams and Barry Hawkins in qualifying.
That fine win over the Hawk was the biggest victory of his career at the time, but he has since topped it not once, but twice with huge upsets at the Crucible.
A 10-6 win over Ali Carter in the last 32 was followed by a 13-7 victory over Neil Robertson, incredibly seeing off the two seeded players relatively comfortably.
He may well be tested more sternly by Allen, who has won three ranking titles this season, but there are no worries for Jones, who is taking everything in his stride.
‘Mark is the best player of the season and he is playing extremely well,’ said Jones. ‘Neil was playing extremely well too though and so was Ali Carter before the tournament.
‘They are all very difficult matches, whoever I play. I will just try my best and see where it takes me.’
Jones is enjoying the time of his snooker life after some difficult times in the game, dropping off tour twice and battling to produce his best stuff when it matters.
His career saw him leave Wales to move to Sheffield and develop his game, but now he is back at home and appears to have struck gold on the green baize.
On his impressive composure, he said: ‘I suppose it’s just everything I’ve been through probably in the game, from turning pro at 16, lots of downs, but I feel like I don’t allow the experience to get to me as much as maybe other debutants, but I don’t know.
‘I feel like I’m closer to playing my practice games in matches. If you can do it at the Crucible it’s a bonus.’
Jones and Allen play over three sessions for a place in the Crucible semi-final, starting on Tuesday morning.
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