Hammad Miah produced one of the performances of his career to beat Judd Trump 4-3 in the British Open on Tuesday in Cheltenham.
The pair traded four century breaks in an electric opening to the clash to leave the scores tied at 2-2.
When Trump moved 3-2 in front, the former world number one became a heavy favourite again to progress.
But Miah held his nerve and fought back strongly, eventually winning the decider on the final black.
“It’s amazing, because I haven’t had a good start like that in a match for a very long time,” Hammad Miah told the World Snooker Tour.
“It felt good that I was keeping up with Judd, because sometimes you can give yourself that extra belief that you can really do it if you just focus.”
“I just said to myself to take your time. There’s no point thinking about your average shot time, there’s no point rushing around.
“Just take your time and just commit to the shots. It worked, and I was happy with that.”
Despite being ranked outside the top 64 in the world rankings, Miah regained his tour card in May thanks to his performances last season on the one-year ranking list.
But prior to that, the Englishman had a remarkable experience in 2021 when attempting to get back to the UK for that year’s Q School – a competition he eventually emerged from with a tour card.
In the midst of the pandemic when many countries were experiencing lockdowns and enacting travel restrictions, Miah found himself scrambling to find a way home having got stuck in Dubai while on holiday.
“I’m so grateful that I was able to make it back, especially after flights had been cancelled,” Miah said of his six-month return journey.
“The main highlight of that story was, I was coming back to the UK from Uzbekistan.”
“But as soon as I got to Turkey, within those two hours of getting to Turkey, the UK put Turkey on the red list.
“So now all the flights from Istanbul to the UK were called off. I had to go back to Uzbekistan to find another route.
“That’s when I came via Russia, so it was very challenging but I never lost hope.
“I met my wife prior, I met her in Uzbekistan before that, and I was only coming back to the UK to play in Q School.
“Then I would have went back to Uzbekistan, and that’s what I eventually did. Obviously I got married, brought her here, we have a beautiful daughter. Amazing!”
During his time away, Miah was forced to keep his cue arm active by playing different cue sports that were popular in the region.
“In the city, there were about 300 Russian billiard clubs, and there was only one snooker club that I found.”
“That’s after going to many of these Russian billiards clubs, and I’m asking the locals. No one knows what snooker is.
“Eventually I met this guy, and he took me to this club, and I just got the hunger back.
“I appreciate just playing snooker, because the way I look at it now, I just want to enjoy playing.
“Everyone that goes up the club and plays snooker, they just want to enjoy it. They want to escape.
“This is my escape now, this is not my life or my work. This is my escape from the world. It’s the way I’m trying to looking at it, so I can enjoy it more.
“I’m not trying to think that I need to win. I need to try to give myself a positive outcome playing snooker.
“I don’t want to think of it as work, I have to do practice, I have to do lineups, I have to do ten hours a day, and all this.
“I say to myself, play as much as you can, try and enjoy it as much as you can, and when you’ve had enough you’ve had enough.
“Now I come to tournaments and I just want to play well and enjoy it – that’s all I want to do.”
Victory in the next round, where Miah has drawn Ma Hailong, would see him reach the last 16 and equal his strongest performance in a ranking event.
Elsewhere at the Centaur, Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy both bowed out in the round of 64.
Robertson was downed 4-1 by World Championship semi-finalist Si Jiahui while Murphy succumbed to a miracle clearance in a high-scoring thriller with Jack Lisowski.
On a frenetic day of action, recent European Masters champion Barry Hawkins, Mark Williams, and Ali Carter were among the other high-profile names to advance.
Mark Selby is the new 9/2 betting favourite to win the British Open with more snooker odds and casino games available at Betsafe.
British Open draw and schedule
(held over fixtures)
Robert Milkins 4-2 Jiang Jun
Judd Trump 4-2 Anton Kazakov
Ali Carter 4-3 Allan Taylor
Luca Brecel 3-4 Ding Junhui
Gary Wilson 4-1 Ahmed Aly Elsayed
Neil Robertson 4-1 Jamie Clarke
Mark Allen 4-1 Anthony McGill
Mark Williams 4-1 Peng Yisong
Mark Selby 4-2 Ben Woollaston
Ryan Day 4-0 Sean O’Sullivan
Kyren Wilson 4-1 Martin O’Donnell
Steven Hallworth 0-4 Jimmy Robertson
Shaun Murphy 4-1 Rebecca Kenna
Jack Lisowski 4-3 Joe O’Connor
John Higgins 4-1 Long Zehuang
Barry Hawkins 4-1 Stan Moody
Xu Si 4-0 Ali Carter
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 1-4 Oliver Lines
Ma Hailong 4-0 Mohamed Ibrahim
Yuan Sijun 4-0 Ben Mertens
Judd Trump 3-4 Hammad Miah
Oliver Brown 2-4 Hossein Vafaei
Lyu Haotian 3-4 David Gilbert
Noppon Saengkham 2-4 Fergal O’Brien
Si Jiahui 4-1 Neil Robertson
Stephen Maguire 2-4 Mark Williams
Scott Donaldson 4-0 Liam Graham
Jamie Jones 0-4 Julien Leclercq
Robert Milkins 1-4 Barry Hawkins
Ken Doherty 3-4 Matthew Stevens
Jimmy Robertson 4-3 Wu Yize
Andy Hicks 2-4 Graeme Dott
Jack Lisowski 4-3 Shaun Murphy
Gary Wilson 4-3 Chris Wakelin
Anthony Hamilton 0-4 Xiao Guodong
Rod Lawler 4-1 Dominic Dale
Ryan Day 4-1 Thor Chuan Leong
Ding Junhui 4-3 Liu Hongyu
Fan Zhengyi 4-1 Ross Muir
He Guoqiang 4-1 Muhammad Asif
John Higgins 1-4 Robbie Williams
Mark Selby 4-2 Tian Pengfei
Daniel Wells 2-4 Ashley Carty
Matthew Selt 4-1 Zak Surety
Mark Allen 0-4 Kyren Wilson
Stuart Bingham 2-4 Ishpreet Singh
Tom Ford 4-3 Ashley Hugill
David Grace 3-4 Sanderson Lam
Matthew Stevens 3-4 Fergal O’Brien
Yuan Sijun 2-4 Hossein Vafaei
Mark Williams 4-2 Gary Wilson
Hammad Miah 3-4 Ma Hailong
Graeme Dott 4-0 Ashley Carty
Ali Carter 4-2 Ryan Day
Julien Leclercq 0-4 Ding Junhui
Oliver Lines 1-4 He Guoqiang
Scott Donaldson 4-1 Robbie Williams
David Gilbert 4-1 Ishpreet Singh
Xiao Guodong 4-1 Sanderson Lam
Barry Hawkins 4-1 Kyren Wilson
Si Jiahui 1-4 Mark Selby
Jimmy Robertson 0-4 Tom Ford
Rod Lawler 2-4 Fan Zhengyi
Jack Lisowski 4-2 Matthew Selt
Ding Junhui 2-4 Mark Williams
Graeme Dott 2-4 Hossein Vafaei
Ali Carter 2-4 Xiao Guodong
Tom Ford 4-1 Scott Donaldson
Barry Hawkins 3-4 He Guoqiang
Fan Zhengyi 4-1 Ma Hailong
David Gilbert 3-4 Mark Selby
Jack Lisowski 4-2 Fergal O’Brien
Mark Williams 5-1 Fan Zhengyi
Hossein Vafaei 5-2 He Guoqiang
Tom Ford 3-5 Xiao Guodong
Mark Selby 5-4 Jack Lisowski
Mark Williams 6-3 Hossein Vafaei
Xiao Guodong 0-6 Mark Selby
Mark Williams 10-7 Mark Selby
Featured image credit: WST