A DETERMINED Ashley Carty has switched his focus to a Crucible return after bowing out early at the Welsh Open.
The Rotherham potter was whitewashed 4-0 by Zhao Yuelong at Celtic Manor on Tuesday evening following a ruthless display by the world No.18, including two century breaks.
Carty was not simply a spectator, replying with two half-centuries of his own, but couldn’t avoid falling at the first hurdle for just the second time in a ranking event this season.
“Every time he got a chance, he made a century whereas when I got a chance, I made fifties,” said the 25-year-old from Thurcroft.
“The frame is still wide open when you make fifties. He’s such a class player and his cue ball was perfect – he never looked like missing.
“That’s why he’s 18 in the world and I’m 90-odd – he was finishing in one visit whereas I needed two or three.”
With the World Championships looming into view, Carty hopes to retrace his steps following his debut at the home of snooker last summer.
The short trip to Sheffield was one he used to make as a spectator and the impact of his qualification went far beyond the experience of taking on 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham.
“It was more important for sealing my tour card for another two years rather than being at the Crucible,” he said.
“Looking back on it, there have been no amateur tournaments for a year now so staying on the tour has changed my life – it has guaranteed me tournaments for two years.
“I first went to the Crucible with my grandad to watch the quarter-finals in 2007 and I know Shaun Murphy and one of his friends really well, so I’ve been a few times to watch him.
“When you’re sat there, you never think you’re going to play there, so it was a dream. I want to get back and have a full crowd, that would be nice.”
Qualifying for snooker’s showpiece event would cap a season Carty is pleased with, though he knows he needs to be more ruthless at the table to turn promising starts into prolonged tournament runs.
“I’ve had a 141 break against Andy Hicks, beat Jack Lisowski and Ali Carter and had a couple of other good wins,” he said.
“I’m pleased but I want to start getting further into tournaments. One of my targets is trying to get to the last 16, which I’ve not achieved yet as a pro, but you can’t expect everything at once.
“After Christmas I took about three weeks off, which was a mistake - but it’s part of the learning curve.
“I’d been off it in practice but about two or three weeks ago something clicked. I felt really good out there (against Zhao) but it’s a case of being more clinical.
“I know I’m capable of it – I proved that getting to the Crucible. A repeat of last year would be nice – we’ll see what happens.”
Watch the Welsh Open live on Eurosport and Eurosport app.