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It’s always difficult to predict how you’ll perform at the first event of the new season, but all in all I can’t have too many complaints about my progress at the Riga Masters.

After the disappointment of failing to qualify for the World Championship, I’ve been working hard over the summer to get my game ready and knew how important it was to get a good start in what feels like a massively important campaign for me.

Reaching the last 32 in Latvia means I’ve got two wins on the board and I’ve given myself something positive to build on.

In the qualifying round in Preston, I played new pro Soheil Vahedi and quickly learned that he’s a very dangerous player. Albeit less experienced, he reminded me a little of Judd Trump actually as he’s very positive and took on some very attacking shots. This made it a difficult first match, but I managed to get through 4-3 and made one of the best clearances of my career in the decider. I was pleased with that, especially under the circumstances and to secure my place at the venue.

In the first round in Riga I played Jamie Jones. He’s always a tough opponent and I didn’t start particularly well, but managed to find some form at 3-1 down to come back and win 4-3.

Snooker can be a funny game. At 2-1, it didn’t really feel like I could win the match and then at 3-1 something clicked and I really believed I’d do it.

I always try to be as ambitious as possible and would love to really make my mark this season and do some damage

I think it helped that I decided to be a bit more attacking. Naturally, players always analyse their game and look for ways to improve and I’m no different. At times last season I felt like I was trying to be too perfect and never make any mistakes. It nearly paid off for me and I got close to some excellent results but I also lost a few too many deciders for my liking and as a result have decided to be a bit more positive in key moments in matches this season.

Unfortunately, my run in Riga came to an end in the next round against Mark Davis. He beat me 4-2 and, if I’m honest, neither of us seemed to play our best. I potted some good balls to level the match at 2-2 and it felt like things might click but it just wasn’t meant to be and Mark’s experience helped him to clinch the win.

It’s not unusual to come away very disappointed after a defeat when you feel you haven’t played your best but, now I’m home and have had time to reflect on it, I’ve looked at the positives of the run. I would love to have gone even further but, if I can keep getting to the last 32 of tournaments this season, I should progress up the rankings and it will go a long way to reaching my primary goal this season of breaking into the top 64.

I always try to be as ambitious as possible and would love to really make my mark this season and do some damage, but I know my first objective has to be retaining my place on the tour and earning another two-year card.

I did ok last season and have put myself into a healthy position in the rankings. I feel like I’m stronger now though and can really kick on.

I was unable to overcome Fergal O’Brien in the qualifying round of the China Championship so that means I’ve got a few weeks until I’m back in competitive action. I didn’t really give myself break after the World Championship so I’ve had a week off to relax and now I’m raring to get back on the practice table and do some solid work.

Hope you enjoyed reading. Thanks for all the support on Twitter during the Riga Masters. I can’t wait to keep it all going for the rest of the season.

#SamCraigieBlog

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