Ali Carter produced a miraculous great escape act as he recovered from 2-0 behind to win Championship League Group 6 with a thrilling 3-2 win over 2020 World Championship semi-finalist Anthony McGill in Milton Keynes.
The two-times world finalist looked down and out needing a snooker on the pink and black in the third frame after McGill had potted the brown to lead 75-54 with only blue, pink and black left on the table.
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Carter, renowned for his fighting qualities since turning professional in 1996, holed the blue over the green pocket before playing a sublime snooker behind the black with the pink tied up on a side cushion heading towards the baulk end of the table.
McGill narrowly missed the pink coming off two cushions before a safety error moments later by the Scotsman enabled Carter to mop up pink and black to trail 2-1.
It was a major turning point in the narrative as McGill would only compile four more points in the closing two frames with a lovely 111 from Carter, his seventh century of the event, sealing his progress to the Championship League winners' group on 1-2 April.
"I'm delighted. When you win a frame needing a snooker I could sense Anthony was struggling a little bit," said Carter, who made breaks of 55 and 53 to edge out Mark Williams in the semi-finals from 2-1 behind.
I love this event, I have always done well here, and it is great that we are playing. I am away, I am working and I can drive home tonight knowing I am the winner.
Carter had earlier won Group 6 on frame difference from McGill after both men finished with five wins from six matches. McGill hit breaks of 85 and 72 in his 3-1 semi-final victory over David Gilbert.
Neil Robertson and Kurt Maflin are scheduled to compete in Group 7 on 30-31 March with one more final place to be settled alongside McGill, Williams, Joe Perry and David Gilbert with Li Hang and Liang Wenbo both eliminated after occupying the bottom two places in Group 6.
Carter admits he is adopting a more attacking strategy ahead of his first-round meeting with Daniel Wells at the Welsh Open at Celtic Manor (LIVE on Eurosport) on Tuesday.
"I have been working on some stuff at home and trying to practice here and there with the lockdown and home schooling, but I am delighted to get through," added the world number 26.
I have tried to change my game a bit and play more attacking rather than the old school way. I came here with that in mind, made a few centuries, and got some good wins.
Championship League confirmed finalists
- Zhou Yuelong
- Graeme Dott
- John Higgins
- Judd Trump
- Kyren Wilson
- Ali Carter
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