Stephen Hendry reserved his best for last as he passed a stern test of nerve and technique to edge into the quarter-finals of the LG Cup here yesterday.
The seven-times world champion, looking for his first ranking title since the British Open in September 1999, fired in a century break in the deciding frame to beat fellow Scot Alan McManus 5-4.
It is all very different from a fortnight ago when Hendry lost 5-1 to journeyman Anthony Davies in his opening match at the British Open in Newcastle.
Hendry now faces his friend Mark Williams with renewed confidence and focus. Hendry who has won five UK titles at the Guild Hall, looked set to enjoy more comfortable progress when, thanks to breaks of 59, 56, 81 and 45 and some much improved long potting he led McManus 4-2. But contributions of 100 and 126 pulled the Glaswegian back on level terms.
Hendry's response, though, was vintage stuff. When McManus slightly misjudged a safety shot, Hendry sank a red from distance and coolly embarked on a run of 101 the 537th century of his career to retain hope of pocketing the £82,500 first prize.
Larkhall's Graeme Dott was the picture of dejection after failing to accompany fellow countrymen John Higgins and Hendry into the quarter-finals.
Dott, runner-up to Higgins at the British Open, was beaten 5-4 on the black by world number eight Stephen Lee after leading 4-3.Reuse content