The last Yorkshireman standing at the second-round stage, the 34-year-old – who famously reached the semi-finals at the York Barbican in 2015 – suffered a 6-3 defeat to Liang Wenbo.
Ironically, it was the same player who ended Grace’s hopes four years previously in their last-four encounter.
But after an impressive first-round win over Tom Ford, Grace heads to the Scottish Open next week with some welcome prize money banked.
“It was massive to get through the first round because of the prize money,” said Grace. “Once you’ve got that out of the way you want to go on and do well so I’m obviously disappointed to lose tonight.
“I played OK in the frames I won but the ones I lost were pretty dire. We both fancied scoring when we got in but I kept missing the first ball, and there’s no excuses because they were often ones I should have got.
“Knowing I was probably going to score well if the first ball went in put added pressure on me and that caused me to miss. It’s just taken me the first couple of balls to get going tonight which is very frustrating.
“Some days they go in – you’ve just got to have the confidence to get those first couple in and weave your way into the break. Then you just take it from there.
“I had chances in most frames but we were both scoring.”
“It came down to whoever was going to make the first mistake was generally going to lose the frame. He didn’t make as many mistakes as me and so he went on and won.”
Grace actually fell off the main Tour at the end of the 2017/18 season - meaning he missed out on the UK Championship 12 months ago - but has since secured a two-year card after finishing in the top two on last year’s Challenge Tour.
He will back training at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds this week, before heading north to face Poland’s Adam Stefanow next week in the Scottish Open.
“My attention turns straight to the Scottish Open now,” he said. “I’ll get back in the club all week and then go up to Glasgow next Sunday.
“The tournaments are coming thick and fast now so you’ve only got a few days before you’re back at it. You’ve got to get back on the practice table and then try and put it right when you go back out there.”