Ross Muir’s Belfast run ends in heartbreaking fashion

Ross Muir just failed to reach the last 16 in Belfast
Ross Muir just failed to reach the last 16 in Belfast
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Old Habits reared their ugly head for Ross Muir after his Dafabet Northern Ireland Open ended in heartbreaking style.

Leading 3-1, Muir looked in prime position to make the last-16 for the first time this season against David Gilbert, despite the massive discrepancy between each other in the rankings. But the Musselburgh cueman ran out of steam as Gilbert roared back with four half-century breaks to win 4-3 and take his place in the next round in Belfast.

And, with the margins fine and disappointment aplenty, Muir didn’t have too far to look for where to point the finger of blame.

“Some mistakes cost me frames and ultimately the match. I had something similar in the last match but not as bad as this,” he said.

“They’re just small lapses of concentration but they’ve cost me dearly, I was a little bit unfortunate in the last frame but I’ve got to take the positives and see where I can improve.

“I’ve switched off for a split second and not put the white were I wanted – I didn’t miss many shots but I’ve got kept enough control of the cue ball.

“That’s something I need to work harder at. If I do that, then it’ll improve my game and get me through situations which have let me down more than once this season.

“It’s taken a tough player to beat me and that’s nice, I just need to keep on getting better.”

Muir now switches his attentions to the UK Championships in York next week, bidding to get beyond the first round for the third year in succession. But the world No.110 faces a tough opener against Michael White, the man who lifted the Paul Hunter Classic title earlier this year.

• Watch the Northern Ireland Open LIVE on Eurosport, Eurosport Player and Quest with Colin Murray and daily studio analysis with Neal Foulds.