Joe Perry survives Welsh Open scare

Chatteris potter Joe Perry

Joe Perry survived a spirited comeback by Chang Bingyu in the first round of the Welsh Open to progress. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Joe Perry admits relief was his overriding emotion after surviving a spirited fightback in the first round of the Welsh Open. 

The Chatteris potter raced into a 3-0 lead against Chang Bingyu at Celtic Manor, reeling off successive breaks of 61 and 56 to put himself on the verge of round two. 

Chang hit back to limit the world no.19 to a single point across frames five and six, but Perry held his nerve for a 4-3 victory to extend his stay in Newport. 

“I watched him when he was a wildcard in some of the Chinese events a few years ago when he beat some of my good friends, like Mark Davis,” Perry said. 

“I thought I was in for a really tough match – but he literally could not pot a ball. 

“I should have won 4-0 but I didn’t. Then, suddenly, he didn’t miss a ball. Before I know it, it’s 3-3 and the pressure is on. 

“Keeping concentration has been a bugbear of mine for a long time and it’s cost me frames and matches. I’m alright for a period of time, then I switch off. 

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“I had half a dozen chances to win and I didn’t, thinking I’d get another chance. 

“He left me a great chance in the last and it’s the most nervous I’ve been in a hell of a long time. 

“It was a match I should never have lost and if I’d missed it, he’d have won as the balls were nicely set. But I managed to get enough to win.” 

Perry will face the winner of Tuesday’s clash between Lu Ning and Welsh wildcard Dylan Emery in the second round on Wednesday, February 17. 

Lu appears the more likely opponent on paper, which would give the 46-year-old the chance to make amends for a disappointing result against the world No.33 earlier this season. 

“He beat me in the UK Championship quarter-finals, probably my most disappointing result of this season,” he said. 

“That’s not because of who he is or his standard, but to get to the semi-finals of a tournament like that where I would have played Judd Trump in the last four, would have been a feather in my cap at this stage of my career. 

“But I didn’t play well on the night and he played exceptionally. Hopefully I can put that right this time.” 

Watch the Welsh Open live on Eurosport and Eurosport app.