Snooker ace Ross Muir overcomes ‘blurry eye’ to make progress

Ross Muir had to battle for his win in Belfast
Ross Muir had to battle for his win in Belfast
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Ross Muir shrugged off a bizarre mystery ailment to take his place in the second round of the Dafabet Northern Ireland Open.

The Musselburgh player seemed in a good place leading Thor Chuan Leong 2-1 when blurriness suddenly struck in his right eye, an unfortunate blow to his momentum that didn’t leave throughout the game.

That initially knocked Muir for six but, after taking time to compose himself, he nosed his way back in front at 3-2 in Belfast.

The Malaysian forced a scrappy deciding frame lasting more than half an hour, but it was Muir who just about held on, now looking forward to facing Stuart Carrington in round two.

“I felt quite good to start with, but suddenly the eye just went blurry so I had to go for a toilet break to try and get it back to normal,” he said.

“So just to get through feels great. It was pretty bad and I completely butchered some shots, but once I got over the shock I was just about to get there.

“I calmed down a little and managed to grind through, playing well wasn’t really an option – you just had to get over the line any way you could.

“There was a bit of pressure thinking how I was going to get out of it, but thankfully I did.”

Despite Belfast being a hop across the sea to Muir’s home, he still boasts plenty of support in the Waterfront Hall crowd.

Hoping they can cheer him on to a long run in the competition, the Edinburgh cueman has already made it further than his tournament debut, out in the first round 12 months ago.

He added: “I’ve got a lot of family and friends here so I want to go as far as I can.

“I’m certainly good enough to beat anyone in the tournament so I’ve just got to focus and play my game – if I do that, then the sky is the limit.”

Meanwhile, Scott Donaldson shocked even himself with just how badly he played after crashing out in the first round.

The Capital-based potter was completely lost for ideas as he slipped to a 4-2 defeat to Wang Yuchen, still without a victory in a ranking event this season.

What made the situation worse was that Donaldson had been showing signs of improvement in recent weeks, though this will have done the world No.66 no favours in his bid to return to the top 64.

Now focus very quickly shifts to York and the UK Championships for the 23-year-old, fearing the worst if his form doesn’t drastically improve by the time next week comes around.

“All throughout the game I was terrible. I’d been playing quite well recently but I deserved to lose that game – there’s no question about that,” he said.

“There wasn’t a thing I did right. I had a bit of fight which narrowed it a little bit but the outcome was on the cards early on and I couldn’t do anything about it.

“I didn’t expect that whatsoever. It’s shocked me a bit. I didn’t see it coming and it’s a hard one to take.

“I’ve got to go to York and hope I can put a performance in. If I play like I did today I’ve got no chance, but that’s a different day and we’ll see how it goes.”

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