By the end of his epic 6-5 victory at the Betway UK Championship, Ross Muir had nothing left in the tank but believes the resilience he showed in fighting back from the brink of defeat bodes well for the future.
Muir’s tournament looked to be ending at the first hurdle at the York Barbican as he trailed veteran Northern Irishman Joe Swail 5-2 in their best-of-11 encounter.
But the Edinburgh native battled back with breaks of 68, 63 and 61 to level proceedings at 5-5 before the players ran out of the time in the afternoon session and were hauled off before the decider.
A three-hour wait then followed before they could return to the baize and after a scrappy frame, the 21-year-old eventually edged over the line – despite his tiredness.
“By the decider both of us were shattered and my eyes are bloodshot – that’s how tired I am,” said Muir.
“Reflecting on it, I couldn’t pot anything short but didn’t miss anything long. It was a strange frame but I’m delighted to beat a player like Joe and make the second round.
“Some people might say it was tough to be taken off at 5-5 because I’d just won three frames in a row and was scoring well but it was the same for both players. Neither of us had an advantage.
“The match showed great self-belief and confidence in myself. I’ve had a lot of things happen recently in my personal life and it really is a big win not just for me but for my Mum and Dad as well.”
This is the second time Muir has reached round two at the UK Championship, following his victory at the same stage over Mark King 12 months ago.
The world No.72 will now face two-time champion Ding Junhui this weekend but says the Chinese superstar holds no fear for him.
“I’ve played Ding three times and he’s 2-1 up in the head-to-head but I beat him in the year he won almost everything [2013-14 when Ding won five ranking events],” added Muir.
“I know I can beat him and although it will be tough, I’m looking forward to it.”
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