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Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Monday, 20 April 2009 17:16 UK

Lee looking for return to top 16

Stephen Lee in action
Lee came through a tight qualifier against Judd Trump to reach The Crucible

Stephen Lee hopes to kick-start a push into the top 16 with a first-round World Championship win over Ryan Day at The Crucible starting on Wednesday.

Day reached the quarter-finals a year ago and that is Lee's own target now.

"He's a good player. You don't get into the top 16 if you can't play the game, but I could have had a harder draw," the 34-year-old told BBC Wiltshire.

"I've got to have a good run and I've got to get to Ronnie O'Sullivan in the last eight to give myself a chance."

Lee's first-round defeat against Joe Swail in Sheffield last year confirmed his slide out of the top 16 and, at his lowest ebb, he considered his future in the sport.

But he returns to snooker's greatest theatre for Wednesday's match enjoying the sport again and confident he can make an impression.

"I haven't had the greatest of seasons, but I've just done enough to steady myself and give myself a good chance [here]," he added.

"And I'm starting to feel a lot better in myself - it's starting to come together and I hope some form turns up in Sheffield for a couple of weeks.

"I've always loved the game. It's just if it loves me or not. It's very frustrating, but I can still play the game and it's just believing in it and doing it at a venue.

"The problem for me is where we've had big gaps in the calendar and I can't get any momentum or confidence from playing well in the last tournament and going into the next tournament. There's no rhythm and I think most of the players have struggled.

"But hopefully if I can put a run together, I'll start provisionally quite high next year and look forward to whatever challenges are in front of me."

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see also
World Championship draw
07 Apr 09 |  Snooker
World Championship latest scores
15 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Lee wins to secure Crucible place
10 Mar 09 |  Snooker
Lee links form to coach Adamson
28 Aug 08 |  Snooker
Beaten Lee considers retirement
20 Apr 08 |  Snooker

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