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It’s exciting to have landed in China and to be finishing my final preparations before the start of the World Open.

Playing in tournaments here is like nowhere else in the world. The red carpet opening ceremony event that we attend before we start the snooker really helps to set the tone for the tournament and helps you to settle into the event too.

It’s always a decent event and makes the tournament feel that bit extra special.

Of course, it ultimately counts for nothing when you get on the table. My opening round match is against John Astley, who is from the north east of England like me.

I’ve never really played anyone local to me in a tournament before so it will be a different kind of test.

I’ve played John in practice plenty of times and we always tend to have close matches. There are times in practice when he doesn’t miss a ball. He’s a very good player and, most importantly, he knows how to win matches which is the key.

I did well at the World Open last season. After beating Ken Doherty in qualifying, I beat Marco Fu in round one and made it through to the last 32.

This is my furthest run in a ranking event so far and I really feel like it’s time to change that and go a bit deeper in a tournament.

The World Open is one of the big events in China and has a great venue and hotel – so it feels like everything is there for me to produce my best.

Over the past week, I’ve been doing lots of solo practice and I seem to have been improving as the tournament has approached, which could bode well.

Thanks as always for reading, but now it’s time to get down to business and play some good snooker.

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