DAVID Grace was left in complete shock after recording the most remarkable victory of his incredible run at this year’s Betway UK Snooker Championship on Friday evening.
The Leeds potter had already shocked the snooker world by reaching the quarter-finals at York’s Barbican Centre but produced an awe-inspiring fightback to down world No.24 Martin Gould 6-5.
Gould reeled off five of the first six frames to take a 5-1 lead, making breaks of 125, 127 and 73 along the way, to leave Grace dead and buried.
But seemingly playing with a weight off his shoulders, the world No.81 roared back to claim four on the spin and level proceedings at 5-5.
A tense decider saw Grace give away seven fouls when snookered, leaving Gould set for victory, but the Londoner broke down and the Yorkshireman held his nerve to clear the colours and book a semi-final spot.
“I’m just absolutely in shock – I cannot believe I managed to turn it round. He was playing great and wasn’t missing to go 5-1 up,” said Grace, who is the lowest-ranked player to reach a UK Championship semi-final since 1990.
I was sat in my chair thinking ‘how do I get back into this’ especially when he was drilling everything in.David Grace
“I was sat in my chair thinking ‘how do I get back into this’ especially when he was drilling everything in.
“I managed to mop up a black to stay in it at 5-2 and then I went to the toilet and just said to myself ‘make him win it’.
“If he knocks in a big break then fair play but I know from experience it gets harder and harder to get over the line and that’s how it proved.
“It can flip round completely when it gets to 5-5. The pressure is suddenly back on me and it’s lifted from him because he has seen his lead go.
“He was absolutely cursed in the final frame when he was clearing up – he kept knocking the reds out, leaving them touching each other and touching the pink. When I potted the final ball it was just pure and absolute relief.”
Having already beaten Andrew Higginson, world No.17 Robert Milkins, Jack Lisowski, Peter Ebdon and Gould this week, Grace now faces world No.29 Liang Wenbo in the last four at Saturday lunchtime.
Whether he can get up for that game with the Chinese star after such an emotionally and mentally draining clash remains to be seen.
But the 30-year-old insists he will do his best to approach the tie the same as he has done with every other match at this UK Championship.
“It will be the same as I’ve done all week really, I’ll try to put that behind me and prepare for the next match as though I’m coming in fresh,” added Grace.
“I’ve felt confident all week even though I maybe haven’t played as well in the last couple of rounds as I did in the non-televised rounds.”
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