Ali Carter weathered one of the game’s all-time greats as well as a misbehaving table as he booked a Masters semi-final berth with a 6-3 win over John Higgins.
The Colchester man only made it to the Alexandra Palace tournament after he was invited when Ronnie O’Sullivan pulled out, but wins over Mark Selby and Higgins have seen him through to Saturday’s last four clashes, where he will face Shaun Murphy.
An attritional contest that featured numerous turning points, Carter was left shocked after discovering that he had missed a yellow that he had claimed to hit, avoiding a foul in the process, and going on to claim a vital fifth frame.
“As far as I was concerned I hit the yellow. If I didn’t think I’d hit it, then I wouldn’t have said that I’d hit it. It’s just one of those things,” he said.
“If it shows that I haven’t hit that then I’m absolutely flabbergasted, because I don’t know what’s happened there.
“I was playing it full ball, the white’s going up the table and it’s turned. I’m absolutely flabbergasted.
“Anyone would tell you that I’d never try and gain an advantage doing that. I have no idea whether it had an impact on the frame or not - that’s unbelievable. All I can say is that I tried to hit that yellow full ball and that’s how far it pulled out.
“It was very tough. A great match to be involved in. It was hard out there, very tough. The balls were scrappy, lots of long frames but delighted to win.”
Despite all the hype around Higgins, it was Carter who wrapped up the first two frames as the pair set the tone for a gritty affair.
The Wizard of Wishaw eventually got on the board, but Carter opened up a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval.
Carter ground out an epic fifth after the break and though Higgins sparked to take the next two, his opponent got to within one of victory before letting the shackles off and promptly booking an exciting Saturday semi-final against Murphy.
“Shaun’s a great player. We grew up together as juniors and it’s a fantastic match to be involved in, so I’m delighted,” he continued.
“The venue feels very different this year, it’s a lot more intimate. It’s a new tournament and I’m free-rolling, so I’m just enjoying it and glad to be here.”
Watch the London Masters LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Ronnie O'Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.