The Scot knocked out a reigning world champion at the Crucible for the second time in his career.
Anthony McGill became the first man through to the last 16 of the 2021 World Snooker Championship after a thrilling 13-12 win against Ronnie O’Sullivan on Friday in Sheffield.
In a match with several dramatic twists and turns, McGill won the last two frames with superb contributions of 136 and 85.
It had been defending champion O’Sullivan who began the contest the stronger, firing in back-to-back century breaks en route to an early 4-1 advantage.
But McGill won the last three frames of the first session and subsequently the first four of the second session with a terrific scoring surge to orchestrate an 8-4 lead.
That became 10-6 heading into the last bout of play, the kind of deficit that hadn’t been overturned since Neil Robertson’s retrieval from 11-5 down against Martin Gould eleven years ago.
O’Sullivan came out firing and quickly reeled off four frames on the spin to tie the game at the last mid-session interval.
When the Rocket twice led at 11-10 and 12-11 it seemed like there could only be one outcome, yet McGill held his nerve together with a telling one-two combination at the end.
“I’m over the moon, I’m just delighted to come through a big match like that,” Anthony McGill told tournament sponsor Betfred after his match with Ronnie O’Sullivan ended.
“I felt good, I was making mistakes and Ronnie was playing so well, and to the outside it probably looked like I was maybe gone, but I just felt so confident that if I could just get a chance I would take it.”
“I made a nice break, and then I got a chance in the decider and the reds were all sitting there, so I would have been disappointed to not take it. There was a lot of pressure on, but they were two good breaks.
“I just didn’t want to make any daft mistakes, and to be honest I had kind of blocked out of my mind that it was a decider, I wasn’t thinking about that.
“I was just thinking about potting some balls and that really helped me, because if you think about what the occasion means and all the rest of it, you end up missing something daft.
“I’m really happy with my game, I’m playing really well and I’m confident I can put on a good performance – what that’ll be good enough to achieve I don’t know, but time will tell.”
McGill, who reached the semi-finals last August only to be denied in a decider, will face either Stuart Bingham or Jamie Jones next – the only remaining qualifiers in the competition.
The exit for O’Sullivan, meanwhile, means that he has gone through an entire season without a trophy for the first time in his professional career.
Elsewhere, two other encounters are delicately poised with Neil Robertson and Kyren Wilson boasting 9-7 overnight cushions against Jack Lisowski and Barry Hawkins respectively.
In the battle between two of the game’s legends, Mark Williams leads John Higgins 5-3 following their opening exchanges.
All three of those fixtures conclude on Saturday at the Crucible Theatre.
Live coverage continues on the BBC and Eurosport.
Featured photo credit: WST