Ryan Day: Welshman aims to beat Ding on Masters return

By Gareth BlaineyBBC Sport Wales
Ryan Day ponders his next shot option
Ryan Day hopes to join fellow Welshman Mark Williams in the second round
2018 Dafabet Masters
Venue: Alexandra Palace, London Dates: 14-21 January
Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Ryan Day says competing in snooker's Masters in London's Alexandra Palace will be "a nice bonus".

Day earned his place in the invitational tournament for the first time since 2010 by impressing at the UK Championship in York in December.

The Welshman reached the semi-finals where he lost 6-3 to Shaun Murphy.

"It's just a nice bonus on the back of what has been a good few months for me," said Day, who faces world number four Ding Junhui in the first round.

"In terms of what it means it's very prestigious.

"It'll be the first time I'll play in the event at Alexandra Palace and that's something else I'm looking forward to."

Day and Ding's game starts on Monday at 13:00 GMT, with Welsh compatriot Mark Williams already through after beating world number one Mark Selby 6-5 in his first-round match on Sunday.

The most recent matches between the two players have been close, including a 6-5 win for Day in the International Championship in China in October 2015, after a 5-4 victory for Ding in the Shanghai Masters a month earlier.

The 37-year-old from Pontycymer in Bridgend County is well aware how tough it will be to beat his Chinese opponent, who won the Masters in 2011 and was runner-up in 2007.

Day said: "He's one of the best players over the last 10 years.

"I think I'm going to have to be at or near my best to come through, but I've been playing really well and the confidence is high."

Day will be aiming to reach the quarter-finals of the Masters for only the second time in his fifth appearance in the competition.

He added: "It would mean the world to me if I was to get to the latter stages, but each player you come up against is a proven winner and a world-class player.

"You've got to be on your game from the off and that's what I'm intending to do."

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