Michael White made what he described as the best comeback of his career to beat Mark Davis 6-5 on a respotted black in the last 32 of the Betway UK Championship.
White recovered a 5-2 deficit and got over the line in a thrilling finish. The Welshman’s recent slump in form has been so sharp that his place on the tour remains in doubt, but the £17,000 he is already guaranteed this week gives him a huge boost. The two-time ranking event winner beat Mark Williams in the previous round and can now look forward to a fourth round match with Stephen Maguire in York.
Davis made breaks of 105, 74 and 68 in building a 5-2 lead, before White hit back with 56 and 62 to close to 5-4, then made a vital yellow-to-black clearance in frame ten to force the decider.
Both players had chances in the last frame and it came down to the colours. Davis missed match-ball brown when he led by 22 points, allowing his opponent to clear to tie the scores. A tactical exchange on the respotted black ended when Davis left it over a centre pocket and White slotted it home before punching the air in relief.
“It’s my best ever comeback,” said 28-year-old White. “He played really well to go 5-2 up but I stuck in there. In the last frame I had so much bad luck and when he was on the brown I was ready to shake his hand. But when he missed it I made a good clearance and then played some superb safety on the black.
“I haven’t practised enough in the past and it has shown, but I’m working hard now. Tonight’s win is unbelievable for me – bigger than beating Mark Williams.”
Selby Set For ‘Dangerous’ Stevens
Mark Selby ground out a 6-3 win over Martin O’Donnell , setting up a last 16 match with a player he feels has “massively under-achieved.”
Two-time UK Champion Selby will be up against Matthew Stevens on Thursday evening. Welshman Stevens won this event in 2003 but that remains his only ranking title – though he has also won the Masters.
“I played Matthew in Northern Ireland and it looked like he was getting his game back,” said Selby. “He is a class act but I think he would say himself he has not put the work in over the years. In my eyes he has massive under-achieved. He’s a very natural player and he is dangerous.”
Breaks of 52 and 70 helped Leicester’s Selby to victory tonight against O’Donnell. “It was a poor match,” admitted the world number six. “I don’t enjoy playing like that but sometimes the balls just go awkward and you have to try to scrape through. We are down to the two-table set up now which is great.”
Wilson Rising To Big Occasion
Gary Wilson beat Joe Perry 6-1 and has now won 12 of his last 13 frames in the tournament. In his previous match against Chris Wakelin he became the fourth player in history – after John Higgins, Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson – to score four consecutive centuries. And the Wallsend cueman was in fine form again tonight as breaks of 74, 103, 75 and 121 helped him to a convincing win over Perry.
World number 18 Wilson got to the semi-finals at the Crucible earlier this year. So far this season he has struggled for form, but is once again coming alive at a Triple Crown event. He now meets Nigel Bond, who knocked out Judd Trump yesterday.
“I feel good about my game again,” said Wilson. “It’s nice to find it this week in the second biggest ranking event. I am happy playing in the main arenas, I feel comfortable and I’m not putting pressure on myself. It doesn’t bother me who I play, I just want to play my own game.”
The result keeps Wilson’s hopes alive in the Race to the Masters while Perry remains in 15th place so must hope he is not overtaken by two other players.
Yan Completes Last 16 Line-Up
Riga Masters champion Yan Bingtao reached the last 16 of a Triple Crown event for the first time as he top-scored with 75 in a 6-3 win over Jack Lisowski. China’s Yan now meets Neil Robertson.