Anthony Hamilton is revelling in his return to the snooker limelight and says a more relaxed approach to his mixed form is paying off.
Hamilton, 46, won his first ranking event in February, beating three former world champions on his way to lifting the German Masters title in Berlin.
Victory saw him reach the Champion of Champions event in Coventry, where he has progressed to the semi-finals.
“I can be world class or really bad so I have to be ready for that,” he said.
“If I make a 140 or miss four blacks off the spot, I am just trying to be the same. It’s quite liberating.”
The Nottingham-born adopted Londoner beat China’s Ding Junhui and Welshman Ryan Day to reach the last four, where he could face one of four men on Friday.
Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Neil Robertson are all former world champions, with Scotland’s Anthony McGill completing the quartet of possible opponents.
‘You have to keep punching’
Hamilton said he was “a bit rusty” in both his 4-2 win over Ding and the 6-4 success against Day – but he won four frames in a row to fight back from 4-2 behind against Day.
“I am proud I dug in,” the world number 26 added. “I was gone most of the day, to be honest. But look what can happen if you don’t stop punching; you can win if they struggle.
“You have to keep punching. But what else am I going do do? Go home and feel sorry for myself? That’s no good any more. I am 46 and I have to make the most of these opportunities.”
Hamilton turned professional in 1991 and has spent five years in the world’s top 16 during his career.
He has twice been a ranking event runner-up, has played in four World Championship quarter-finals and one Masters semi-final. That appearance in the last four at the Masters came in 1999, when he was beaten by Scotland’s Higgins.
And he would dearly love to test himself against the four-time world champion in another prestigious setting.
“I would love to play either Ronnie or John,” said Hamilton. “I don’t mind if get pumped by one of them. To play one of the ‘Gods’ in a great venue – that would be perfect.”