Michael White produced arguably his best performance in years to beat Ding Junhui in the Northern Ireland Open on Tuesday.
The Welshman prevailed from a tight affair that lasted the distance, with White scoring a timely break of 87 in the decider to clinch it.
A two-time former ranking event winner and world number 15, White suffered a dramatic slide down the rankings that ultimately led to his relegation from the main tour in 2020.
As an invited amateur, the 31 year-old qualified for the World Snooker Championship earlier this year which guaranteed his return to the pro circuit.
White has since set his sights on a return back up the rankings list, with this victory over Ding doing wonders for his morale.
“It was a quality match I thought,” Michael White, who will face Barry Hawkins in the last 32, told the World Snooker Tour.
“There were a lot of breaks, and I’m just pleased that I performed out there on the match table. It’s been a while since I’ve played to my potential on the TV table.”
“That means a lot to me. To do it under extreme pressure and to have a one-visit in the deciding frame is a massive confidence builder.
“I’m enjoying my matches again, because I feel like I’m performing somewhere near the level where I think I should be performing.
“I went through a terrible patch for about two or three seasons, and in the end I came off the tour. I was going into tournaments and dreading it.
“My confidence was absolutely shot, but I’ve had a decent start to the season. I’m playing pretty good and I’ve qualified for Scotland.
“I’ve just beaten a top eight player – I know he’s not in there at the moment, but he’s definitely a top eight player – so it’s a massive confidence builder, I’m really pleased.
“There’s an old saying that ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ and I lost my discipline off the table (before being relegated from the tour).
“I got my tour place back in the spring, and I said to myself, ‘if you’re going back on the tour, you’ve got to give either 100% or not bother at all.’
“So I’m working extremely hard on and off the table. I’ve got a good balance in my life now, I’m enjoying my snooker and my practice – I’m in a much better place than where I was.”
Elsewhere on day three at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, there were a couple of other upsets with both Judd Trump and Stuart Bingham crashing out.
Trump represented a salty loser as he questioned his opponent’s fortune in a 4-1 defeat to Aaron Hill, while Bingham was downed 4-0 by David Lilley.
John Higgins and Kyren Wilson also looked to be heading for the exit doors, but the pair fought back from the brink of defeat to edge 4-3 thrillers.
Higgins’ comeback was particularly impressive, compiling a 69 clearance in the penultimate frame against Jackson Page before sealing the turnaround win with a 124 century contribution.
Among the other familiar faces to make it through were Shaun Murphy, Luca Brecel, and David Gilbert.
Meanwhile, Lu Ning constructed the highest break of the tournament so far, but his 141 total clearance was good enough for just one frame as he lost 4-1 to Hammad Miah.
Daniel Wells is making the most of his amateur top-up spot after a 4-0 triumph over Welsh Open winner Joe Perry.
Anthony McGill, Robert Milkins, Tom Ford, and Pang Junxu were the others who qualified for the last 32.
On Wednesday, Ronnie O’Sullivan returns to the fray as the second round of the competition reaches its conclusion.
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Featured photo credit: WST
I thought you might mention Jimmy White’s altercation with Ben Williams. My view is that White was in the right to be irked as no reason for Williams to find that amusing.
It had already been given enough attention elsewhere, I decided to just leave it. But yeah, I would tend to agree with you. Jimmy probably overreacted, but it was a strange thing to laugh so wholesomely about, and it’s not the first time that Ben Williams has seen the funny side of his own mistakes. He does that quite commonly actually. I’m not sure if it’s nervous laughter, or he’s just a bit too jovial about things.