Ali Carter was in fine form as he beat Mark Williams 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals of the Masters on Monday in London.
The Essex player took inspiration from playing in front of a relatively local crowd, saying the atmosphere was “unbelievable”.
Carter was a slight underdog heading into the contest with the two-time former champion.
But despite trailing three times early on, the Captain took control of the match with back-to-back century breaks to lead 4-3.
Williams responded with a run of 86 to restore parity, but contributions of 61 and 73 helped Carter through to the last eight.
The 44 year-old is making his first Masters appearance since reaching the final in 2020, when he was denied glory on the big stage by Stuart Bingham.
Carter had endured a few years of disappointing form, but his prospects turned around at the 2023 German Masters.
Taking advantage of a weakened field, the former world number two romped to a fifth career ranking success that helped him rejoin the world’s elite bracket.
“The opportunities that it brings you, winning a tournament obviously propelled me back into the top 16,” Ali Carter told the World Snooker Tour.
“Picking up points, it alleviates the pressure going in. I’ve had two more finals since the German Masters and some other deep runs.”
“I’m working with Chris [Henry] and everything is going well, so I just want to continue on this trajectory, keep doing the right things, putting the work in, and see what happens.
“When Chris and I started again, we made a commitment to put the work in and be more professional.
“I’m not a five or six hours a day man – I’m a couple of hours a day man now. But two hours of the right stuff, intense practice.
“Not do the line-up, then send a text message to someone, have a phone call while you’re potting balls, and all that, which is what I was like really.
“I was out winging it for a few years, but now I’m reaping the rewards and the benefits of putting the hard work in.”
Like a lot of the top players, Carter was busy over the festive season and was one of the infamous Macau Five who took part in an unsanctioned event in China.
He reached the final of that postponed tournament and subsequently participated in Group 2 of the Championship League last week.
“It was a good performance, I played really well,” Carter said about victory over last year’s runner-up Williams.
“The playing in Macau, it kept me playing over the Christmas period and competitive snooker.”
“Then obviously the Championship League was great. I opted to go in Group 2, and that’s given me six good matches.
“I tried to go there with a good attitude and just say that this is paid, match practice for the Masters. It’s not the be-all and end-all here. It done me good.
“I played well, and I finished off really well. All parts of my game was good. I potted a lot of tricky balls tonight, and that was pleasing.”
Next up for Carter will be either Judd Trump or Kyren Wilson, who face each other in the first round of Tuesday afternoon.
The evening encounter on day three will see Neil Robertson face Barry Hawkins.
Ronnie O’Sullivan was the other player to progress to the quarter-finals on Monday, meanwhile.
The Rocket defied a wonderful 147 break from opponent Ding Junhui to see off the Chinese competitor with a 6-3 scoreline.
At the Alexandra Palace this week, O’Sullivan is bidding for a record-extending eighth Masters crown.
– draw, live scores, results –
Last 16 (bo11)
Judd Trump 6-5 Kyren Wilson
Mark Williams 4-6 Ali Carter
Mark Selby 6-1 Robert Milkins
Mark Allen 6-5 John Higgins
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 Ding Junhui
Neil Robertson 3-6 Barry Hawkins
Shaun Murphy 6-2 Zhang Anda
Luca Brecel 2-6 Jack Lisowski
Judd Trump 5-6 Ali Carter
Mark Selby 5-6 Mark Allen
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 Barry Hawkins
Shaun Murphy 6-3 Jack Lisowski
Ali Carter 6-3 Mark Allen
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 Shaun Murphy
Ali Carter 7-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Featured photo credit: WST