Stuart Carrington got his season off to a strong start with a run to the quarter-finals of the season opening Kaspersky Riga Masters.
The Grimsby potter secured impressive victories over former Players Champion Joe Perry and three-time World Champion Mark Selby on his way to the last eight. However, he was denied a place in the semi-finals after a 4-1 defeat against Mark Joyce.
We caught up with Carrington to reflect on his performance in the Latvian capital and discuss his ambitions going forward…
Stuart, well done on a good showing in Riga. You secured superb back-to-back victories over Joe Perry and Mark Selby. Do you feel that caused you to get slightly ahead of yourself going into your quarter-final match?
“I think there was a little bit of that. I had one of the toughest draws possible. The draw was open for lots of guys to kick on and try to win their first ranking event. In the back of my mind I was thinking that I could win it having beaten Mark and Joe. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. It wasn’t to be and although that was disappointing, overall it was a good start to the season.”
How much of a boost is it to your campaign going forward having got off to a good start?
“Going into the event I wasn’t sure what to expect. I just didn’t feel 100% sharp or focussed with my game. I wouldn’t say I played brilliantly to beat Mark, but I dug in and ground it out well to come back from 2-0 down. It is nice to know things are beginning to come together and I hope I can kick on from here.”
How have your preparations for this season been over the course of the summer?
“Well actually the summer heatwave has had an impact on my practice recently. The club where I play has been ridiculously hot. It wasn’t ideal that the hottest week came right before Riga. I’ve got a couple of fans, that I put on me but they didn’t do very much. It has been impossible to put proper hours in. Everyone was going to that tournament half prepared really, so to get a decent run was a bit of a bonus.”
Since making your first ranking quarter-final at the 2017 Welsh Open, you’ve reached the last eight on a further four occasions, including a semi-final appearance at the 2018 Riga Masters. Just how motivated are you now to go a step further and reach that maiden final and go for a title this season?
“It’s definitely a very big motivation. I’ve got to a stage where I know getting to quarter-finals and semi-finals is more than doable. I’ve proved that over the last couple of seasons. I’ve reaffirmed to myself that I’ve got the game to do it. I want to try to push on now and get to a final. The aim is to win a tournament this season and if not, then certainly next season. Things are slowly but surely coming together. Hopefully it all continues and I can kick on that one step further.”