GRAEME Dott admits he is still far from his best form but after securing a spot in the Masters semi-finals for the first time in his career the former world champion is happy to get through any way possible.
Yesterday, Dott was not made to work particularly hard for his win as he destroyed pre-tournament favourite Judd Trump 6-1 to make the final four for the first time in 11 attempts.
But, in truth, the match was hardly a classic with Trump, the world No 2, way below his best as the Scotsman coasted into a 4-1 lead despite a highest break of only 36. And with Trump all but throwing in the towel, it was the world No 12 who took full advantage to rattle of breaks of 54 and 111 to seal a comfortable victory.
And the 35-year-old admitted afterwards that Trump’s below-par performance had unsettled his rhythm. “It’s good to have won but, to be quite honest, I never really felt like I was winning easily,” he said. “Both of us were struggling out there and I just happened to be pinching the close scrappy frames and built a bit of a lead.
“To be honest, the fact that Judd was off his game put me off a bit. I went out there expecting to have to be so careful because he normally punishes you. But, when he started missing, suddenly the pressure came on to me to make sure that I didn’t let those opportunities go to waste, so it can be off-putting.
“I’m just happy to win. The next match is definitely going to be a tough one and I still have work to do. Things are slowly coming together for me. My cueing was a big improvement on my match with Stephen [Maguire] in the first round.”
Before Christmas at the UK Championships, Dott appeared to be all at sea, tumbling out in the second round and questioning if he would again reach the heights that saw him claim the world crown back in 2006.
But after a best-ever run here at the Alexandra Palace, he admitted he can perhaps see some light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s strange to be trying to work yourself back into the groove during the tournament. My cue action needs a lot of work and I will be back tonight to practice,” he added. “I meant every word of what I said in York. My practising was rubbish and I was not cueing well at all. If I never went to the PTC in Germany last week I would still be in trouble. But I stumbled across a fault in my cue action out there and I’ve been working to put it right.”