‘Comeback King’ David Grace fights his way to Northern Ireland Open quarter-finals

COMEBACK King David Grace’s phone won’t stop vibrating after battling his way through to the fifth ranking event quarter-final of his career.
Leeds snooker player David Grace.Leeds snooker player David Grace.
Leeds snooker player David Grace.

The Leeds player engineered yet another piece of Milton Keynes escapology as he came from three frames behind to topple world No.28 Michael Holt 4-3 at the Northern Ireland Open.

Grace won his second, third and fourth round matches by that scoreline and the world No.67 has a busy evening in store ahead of his last eight duel against Chinese sensation Yan Bingtao.

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“I’m absolutely buzzing,” the 35-year-old said. “Everyone’s been texting me from back home even before that one saying I’m the comeback king, and that’s just sealed it, hasn’t it?

“That’s what everyone’s been saying even before that match. I haven’t even read any of them yet – I’ve got about 30 WhatsApps!

“He played really well to go 3-0 up but you’re never out in a best-of-seven. I won when I was 3-0 down at the English Open and I knew if I could make a couple of breaks, you’re soon back in it. I’m trying to reinvent myself a little bit as someone who can actually score.

“I played [Yan] two or three years ago in one of the qualifiers and I was really impressed. He’s mature beyond his years so it’ll be a tough game.

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“Now it’s quite a big transition going from the outside tables to the TV tables, but if I can overcome that, who knows?”

Reigning Shoot Out champion Holt raced into a 3-0 lead with three half-century breaks but visits of 64 and 62 from the Yorkshire player teed up a nervy decider.

And there he showed the bottle he’s becoming renowned for as a gutsy 58 booked that clash with world No.13 Bingtao on Friday and his first major quarter-final since last season’s Gibraltar Open.

* Watch the Northern Ireland Open live on Eurosport, Eurosport app, and stream on discovery+

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