Joe Perry survives fightback to progress in Welsh Open with win over Chang Bingyu
By Paul Martin
Joe Perry admits relief was the overriding emotion after surviving a Chang Bingyu fightback in the first round of the Welsh Open.
The world No 19 flew into a 3-0 lead at Celtic Manor, reeling off successive breaks of 61 and 56 to put himself on the verge of round two.
But Chang hit back to limit the Cambridgeshire-based potter, who trains at WT's Sports Bar in Cambridge, to just a single point across frames five and six and set up a decider.
Perry held his nerve to extend his stay in Newport and was left to reflect on a match of two halves.
“I know he [Chang Bingyu] is a really good player,” said the 46-year-old.
“I watched him when he was a wildcard in some of the Chinese events a few years ago when he beat some of my good friends, like Mark Davis.
“I thought I was in for a really tough match – but he literally could not pot a ball.
“I left him an easy one, he potted and missed the black – it was embarrassing, really.
“I should have won 4-0 but I didn’t. Then, suddenly, he didn’t miss a ball. Before I know it, it’s 3-3 and the pressure is on.
“Keeping concentration has been a bugbear of mine for a long time and it’s cost me frames and matches. I’m alright for a period of time then I switch off.
“I had half a dozen chances to win and I didn’t, thinking I’d get another chance. It didn’t work out like that.
“He left me a great chance in the last and it’s the most nervous I’ve been in a hell of a long time.
“It was a match I should never have lost and if I’d missed it, he’d have won as the balls were nicely set. But I managed to get enough to win.”
Perry will face the winner of Tuesday’s clash between Lu Ning and Welsh wildcard Dylan Emery in the second round on Wednesday.
Lu appears the more likely opponent on paper, which would give Perry the chance to make amends for a disappointing result against the world No 33 earlier this season.
“He beat me in the UK Championship quarter-finals, probably my most disappointing result of this season,” he said.
“That’s not because of who he is or his standard, but to get to the semi-finals of a tournament like that, where I would have played Judd Trump in the last four, would have been a feather in my cap at this stage of my career.
“But I didn’t play well on the night and he played exceptionally. Hopefully I can put that right this time.”
*Watch the Welsh Open live on Eurosport and Eurosport app.