World Snooker Championship: Perry has belief in title shot

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at The Crucible
Joe Perry
Perry won his first ranking event title in March 2015

Joe Perry believes he is a title contender at the World Championship for the first time in his 23-year professional career.

Perry, from Cambridgeshire, held off a mini-revival by Chinese qualifier Zhang Anda to seal a 10-4 first-round win.

The 40-year-old has been beyond the last 16 just twice in 12 visits, most notably reaching the last four in 2008.

"I have won a tournament this season with every player in it and this is no different. I am here to win," he said.

"If I am brutally honest, I don't think I have ever come here genuinely believing I can win.

"But I know if I can play to my ability and keep calm and relaxed, which I have learned to do in the last few years, then there is no reason why I can't have a good run."

Joe Perry at The Crucible
1999: Second round (lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan 13-8)2002: Second round (lost to Peter Ebdon 13-7)
2003: First round (lost to Sean Storey 10-4)2004: Quarter-final (lost to Matthew Stevens 13-10)
2006: First round (lost to Ryan Day 10-3)2007: First round (lost to Stephen Maguire 10-3)
2008: Semi-final (lost to Ali Carter 17-15)2009: First round (lost to Jamie Cope 10-6)
2010: Second round (lost to Ali Carter 13-11)2011: First round (lost to Stephen Hendry 10-9)
2012: Second round (lost to Stephen Maguire 13-7)2014: Second round (lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan 13-11)

Perry's tournament victory this year came at the Players Championship Grand Final in Thailand in March - his first ranking event success.

"I have had a good season," the world number nine said. "I am happy, confident and am enjoying my snooker.

"I have achieved something I always wanted to achieve and now have the belief that when it comes to the crunch I can do it.

"I have been consistent over the last two years. I don't worry about playing badly any more. If it happens, it happens. I have no expectations. I work hard and practice hard and I am getting results."

Perry admitted to a few nerves after seeing Zhang - the lowest ranked player in the tournament at 98 - recover from 7-0 down to only trail 8-4.

"He didn't do himself justice in the morning and you sort of expect it to happen," Perry said. "But, even though you are ready for when it comes, it's a horrible feeling."

And Perry said he was ready for a last-16 meeting with 2005 champion Shaun Murphy, which gets under way on Sunday.

"He looks in an aggressive mood so I need to be sharp and my safety needs to be exceptionally good," Perry added.

"The balls he goes for are high risk and if he gets them I will shake his hand, if he doesn't then I will get plenty of opportunities."

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