Graeme Dott made an excellent clearance in the deciding frame to beat John Higgins 5-4 and set up a quarter-final with Ding Junhui at the Nirvana Turkish Masters.
Victory in the all-Scottish clash sees Dott continue his recent run of form as he reached the semi-finals of the recent BetVictor European Masters.
Higgins made a 141, the highest break of the week so far, in the second frame and later came from 3-2 down to lead 4-3. He had a chance of victory in frame eight but missed a tricky pot on the final brown to a baulk corner when he trailed by 19 points. Dott potted the brown to a centre pocket for 4-4.
First chance in the decider went to Dott and he made 28, then Higgins replied with 32 before running out of position and playing safe. When Dott knocked in a long red it didn’t look like a match-winning opportunity as there were two reds tight to cushions, but he picked them off and went on to make a superb 50.
“It was a good break,” admitted Dott, chasing his first ranking title since 2007. “I always enjoy playing John because he’s the best ever, and you find out where your own game is. To beat him when he has been playing well gives me a lot of confidence. I will need to play well again tonight.”
The result leaves Higgins uncertain of his place at the Cazoo Tour Championship later this month. He is currently seventh on the one-year ranking list but other players could overtake him this week.
Ding showed glimpses of the form which has won him 14 ranking titles as he edged out amateur Si Jiahui 5-4 in an high quality battle. China’s Ding compiled breaks of 64, 93, 73, 127 but still trailed 4-3, then hit back with 105 and 97 to take the last two frames and reach his first ranking event quarter-final since the 2021 German Masters.
In yet another match which went to a decider, Martin Gould beat Lu Ning 5-4 thanks to a run of 61 in the decider. He now faces Matthew Selt, who knocked out Zhao Xintong in the previous round and kept his fine run going with a 5-1 defeat of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, scoring breaks of 72, 80 and 61.
The remaining four last-16 matches will start at 3.30pm local time, followed by the quarter-finals from 8pm.