Jimmy White is confident of making a return to the Snooker World Championship next month as he believes he is playing too well not to qualify.
White has not reached the final stages of the tournament since 2006 but heads into the qualifiers starting on April 3 in a bullish mood after a run of good performances, even after his hopes of making a ranking event quarter-final appearance at the age of 60 were ended by Pang Junxu at the WST Classic in Leicester.
“I am playing ok, I just ran out of steam. I’ll take a couple of days off now and get back to practice on Friday,” White told wst.tv.
“I’ll be getting to the Crucible, I am playing too well.”
Expectations rose after White, who at the recent German Masters became the first player in his 60s to reach the last 16 since Eddie Charlton in 1992, claimed a first professional win over Judd Trump in the previous round earlier in the day.
He coasted into a 3-0 lead then withstood a brief comeback to wrap up a 4-2 victory before an opening-frame win over Pang briefly boosted his chances of making the last eight.
However, the Chinese cueman responded by winning the next four to knock out the veteran who, while disappointed, has his sights set on an even bigger prize after being buoyed by victory over Trump.
“I was really nervous, but it’s ok to be nervous because it means you’re alive at my age,” he added.
“If you’re not a fan of Judd Trump you’re not a fan of snooker. The last five times we’ve played he’s beaten me, so this is a big win for me.”
Two centuries for Scot John Higgins secured a 4-2 win over Kyren Wilson and moved him into the quarter-finals, where he was joined by Stuart Bingham who beat Noppon Saengkham by the same score.
Higgins will now face fellow four-time world champion Mark Selby, after he defeated Robbie Williams 4-3, with Bingham taking on Ali Carter, who beat James Cahill by the same score.