David Grace acknowledged that the snooker gods “were on my side” after sending Ronnie O’Sullivan crashing out of the Northern Ireland Open.
The world number 49 inflicted a surprise defeat on the seven-time World champion, who he edged out in a deciding frame to book his last-32 spot at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Wednesday.
A three-time runner-up at this event, O’Sullivan opened with 62 before doubling his lead in a scrappy second frame.
Although the Rocket, who appeared concerned by his tip following a heavy contact at the start of frame three, then scored just 11 points as Grace hit breaks of 57, 94 and 64 to turn the contest on its head.
The world number one looked out of sorts, but he managed to force a decider on the blue after his opponent failed to convert a couple of match-winning opportunities.
Grace also needed several chances in the final frame, but the 2020 Northern Ireland Open semi-finalist dominated proceedings to send another big name packing after Aaron Hill stunned Judd Trump less than 24 hours earlier.
“I got over the line in the end; I made hard work of it,” he told Eurosport.
“You don’t normally get a second chance. I missed the first chance to win 4-2; I lost the cue ball then missed a smelly one, and that’s normally when the snooker gods don’t forgive you. But luckily, they were on my side today.
“It was going really bad at 2-0, and I’m proud that I managed to find the cue ball control to make a couple of breaks in the middle of the match and give myself a foothold.
“When you play the legends, they get better when they go in front; they don’t normally give you a foothold in the match, so it was nice to be able to give myself a chance.”
A UK Championship semi-finalist in 2015, Grace will play Tian Pengfei on Thursday for a place in the Last 16.
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