A RELIEVED Jak Jones finally ended his ManBetX Welsh Open hoodoo by winning a match at the tournament for the first time.

Memories of defeats to Liang Wenbo, Martin Gould and Craig Steadman on his three previous visits were banished thanks to a 4-3 victory over China’s Mei Xiwen.

He now plays David Grace on Wednesday for a place in round three, with the Englishman having beaten Welsh wildcard Rhydian Richards.

“I am relieved to get through the first round, especially the way the match started, going 2-0 down,” said 24-year-old Jones, who hails from Cwmbran.

“I just managed to stay in there and come good.

“In the first frame I potted a black off the spot and went into the pack, but a red went into the yellow pocket which left him in the balls.

“Then in the second frame I had a kick on the pink and was 2-0 down without really doing anything wrong.

“I was quite close to losing my head a little bit but that is probably what I’ve learnt, just to keep calm and wait for my chance.

“I felt in control to a certain extent in the deciding frame but I always had it in the back of my mind that if I gave him a chance he could make an unbelievable clearance.

“But it was quite comfortable in the end.”

Before today, playing in his home tournament and in front of family and friends hadn’t worked in his favour.

But the Gwent cueman says he now feels more at ease with life on World Snooker’s main tour and that helped him get through a tough opening contest.

“I’m used to going round to all the tournaments with my dad but when you come here all your friends and family come with you,” he explained.

“They are shouting for you every chance you get – Ronnie O’Sullivan and others are used to it – but it is hard.

“I’m just getting used to it now and feeling more comfortable.

“I’ve started to feel a lot more comfortable recently, practising really hard, so I’m more comfortable in the uncomfortable situations.

“It definitely is a lot harder (playing in Wales), especially the first round, but once you get through that you should relax a lot more.

“The first round in any tournament is a bit more edgy but to get through to the second round is nice.”

He continued: “I feel as good as I’ve ever felt.

“It was more so my head and not coping with things on the tour before, but now I feel a lot more comfortable.

“When I turned pro at 16 I’d just come from playing Welsh junior events.

“Coming onto the tour, you’re living away all the time and I don’t think I coped with it very well when I was that age.

“You expect to be winning tournaments before you even know what you’re doing.

“I’m just practising really hard all the time now, even if I’ve had a disappointing result.

“I’m going straight back to practice and not letting it bother me as much.”