World Championship 2017: Welshman Ryan Day eyes Crucible progress

By Gareth BlaineyBBC Wales Sport at The Crucible
Ryan Day
Ryan Day has been runner-up in four ranking tournaments
2017 World Snooker Championship
Venue: The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 15 April - 1 May
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs and online.

Ryan Day says a good run in the World Snooker Championship would be "a big plus" after he regained his place in the world's top 16.

Day will be Wales' sole representative at Sheffield's Crucible.

The 37-year-old was runner-up to Barry Hawkins at February's World Grand Prix in Preston and wants to build on that.

"One of the main goals at the start of the season was to push back inside the 16 - that's happened," Day told BBC Wales Sport.

He continued: "I want to cement my place in there for the next couple of years so going deep in this event would be a big plus."

This year will be the first time since the competition was first staged at the Crucible 40 years ago in which Wales will have only one representative.

Two-time world champion Mark Williams and four other Welsh players lost their matches in the last qualifying round.

Day is surprised he is the only Welshman at the Crucible but will not be dwelling on that disappointment as he aims to go beyond the first round for the first time since 2014.

"It was amazing really watching that last day of qualifying unfold," Day told BBC Wales Sport.

"It was a massive shock that all five players were beaten. It's a shame because we're all good friends but I'm not going to be thinking about that.

"It's an individual sport and I'm competing for myself and my family.

"Hopefully a lot of people back in Wales will get to cheer me on for longer than they have done in the last couple of years."

Day, who has reached the World Championship quarter-finals on three occasions, will face Xiao Guodong in the first round.

The 28-year-old from China is ranked 44 in the world, 28 places below Day, but the Welshman is wary of his opponent after he beat world number 21 Mark King 10-4 in the last qualifying round.

"Xiao has been a good player for a long time and his results have been improving in the last few months," Day said.

"He got through qualifying quite comfortably and it's going to be a tough match."

Should Day beat Xiao he faces an even tougher match in the second round against defending champion Mark Selby who beat Fergal O'Brien 10-2 in the first round.

Selby won 5-4 against Day at March's Players Championship in Llandudno but he is encouraged by the fact he took the world number one to a deciding frame.

"It's not going to be easy to say the least but we had a good game in Llandudno. If I bring my 'A game' I can give Mark a match," he said.

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