Stephen Maguire will enjoy a free-rolling attitude for the remainder of UK Championship campaign in York following a stunning fightback against Mark Williams.
The Scot was already contemplating his journey home when the world champion led 4-0 at the interval after an insipid Maguire display.
Having elected to go for everything, Maguire suddenly caught fire and notched a hat-trick of century breaks to get back into the match at 4-3. He added a scrappy eighth frame to level, with Williams having scored only nine points in seeing his four-frame lead wiped out.
A break of 97 put Maguire on the brink and he appeared set to complete the turnaround in frame ten, only to unexpectedly miss the yellow.
Williams climbed off the canvas to level at 5-5 and, with both men having opportunities in the deciding frame, Maguire went for and got a tough double to push himself over the line.
“I’ve never made a comeback like that,” said 37-year-old Maguire. “For the first four frames I couldn’t have been any worse. I told my dad to get the car ready at the interval.
“I decided to pull the cue right back and hope for the best. To get back to 4-3 I kept him off the table. I have been in his position and no one likes their opponent coming back at him.”
Maguire, UK champion in 2004, now has a quarter-final against Dafabet Masters champion Mark Allen to look forward to and the Scot has vowed to keep playing as if it is a bonus.
“When I had the double on the red in the last frame I just went for it because I had decided at 4-0 I was going to go for everything. I am free-rolling now because I should have been out. I am going to keep playing the same way in my next match,” he added.
“It’s a big scalp for me because I haven’t been challenging the top boys so to beat the World Champion when he has been playing well – it doesn’t get better than that.”
Maguire is 2.25 underdog to get past in-form Allen, with the Northern Irishman favourite at 1.62 for Friday’s clash.