Ryan Day made a total clearance in the deciding frame to beat Li Hang 6-5 and reach the quarter-finals of the Betway UK Championship for the first time.
Joe Perry also booked a spot in the last eight with a 6-4 defeat of Mark Allen.
Welshman Day was pushed all the way by China’s Li but finished in style to set up a meeting with Mark Joyce or Lyu Haotian on Friday. The result boosts Day’s hopes of a Masters spot as he moves ahead of Liang Wenbo into 15th place in that race.
Day took the opening frame tonight then Li had a chance of a 147 in the second but after potting 15 reds with blacks he missed a tough yellow with the rest. He went on to lead 3-1 with runs of 83 and 56. Frame five went Day’s way and he looked set to make it 3-3 but his opponent got the snooker he needed on the final pink and took pink and black to lead 4-2.
Riga Masters champion Day recovered to take the next three frames with top runs of 65 and 60 to lead 5-4. He might have sealed victory in frame ten but missed the last red to a baulk corner along a side cushion. But the Pontycymmer potter needed only one chance in the decider, making a brilliant 138.
“I had to dig in and work hard tonight,” said world number 19 Day. “To lose the tenth frame and go 5-5 was a sickener but I took some deep breaths and showed some steeliness in the last frame. I gave every shot 100 per cent and it was a great break. Li gave a fist pump when he went 4-2 up but after that he started missing balls.”
Perry set up a quarter-final with Stephen Maguire by beating Allen, a result which means that Ronnie O’Sullivan and Shaun Murphy are the only top-16 ranked players left in the tournament.
Perry compiled breaks of 83, 114 and 63 in building a 3-1 lead then Allen made a 135 in frame five. A superb 64 clearance gave Perry frame six and the Chatteris cueman made an 87 in the next to lead 5-2.
Allen battled back with 134 and 75 to close to 5-4 but world number 22 Perry got the better of a scrappy tenth frame to reach his first ranking event quarter-final since the Riga Masters.
Perry said: “It was a great game, the best I have played in a long time. I felt comfortable out there and played solid snooker all the way through, until the end when I collapsed like a cheap tent. I was lucky to crawl over the line. It’s a big win for me and I’ve got to try to keep playing to that level.”