A tearful Joe Swail sealed a remarkable victory over John Parrott, the No 5 seed, here yesterday when he came from 12-8 behind to win the final five frames and reach his first Embassy World Championship quarter-final.
The world No 28 from Northern Ireland seemed destined for defeat at the mid-session interval after Parrott had won three of the opening four morning frames to move within one of victory. However, the 30-year-old Ulsterman compiled one of the great Crucible comebacks as he stunned the 1991 champion with an exhibition of crisp potting to set up a last-eight meeting with Dominic Dale.
Swain took control of a tense final frame with a break of 46 and Parrott conceded defeat with his opponent poised to make a match-winning clearance. As the realisation of his achievement dawned on him, Swail burst into tears.
Swail admitted that he did not think victory was possible at the mid-session interval. "When I was 12-8 down I never thought I would win," he said. "I couldn't get going, and John's experience kept me off the table. But I started playing my own game, and a few breaks went in, and I managed to get back into the match.
"I couldn't believe the way I played in the last five frames. I tend to have a second wind when I'm behind. I don't know where I get it from but I'm glad I've got a little bit of bottle.
"This has got to be my best win ever. Let's face it - 12-8 down against a former world champion at the Crucible. I've never won a match and cried afterwards. During the last frame all I thought about was my mother, who died a couple of years ago."
In contrast, Parrott was shell-shocked after what was almost certainly the worst defeat of his career. "I've never ever lost from that situation before," he said. "But I have to take my hat off and give Joe credit. From 12-8 behind he played like a man possessed. His long game was fantastic. He never missed a long ball and didn't look like missing one."
In the morning's other match Steve Davis and John Higgins shared the eight frames played, which left Higgins 10-6 in front. Davis had taken three of the first four frames before the interval, but Higgins stormed back with breaks of 127, 71 and 129.