DAVID GRACE spent last summer painting legendary Ronnie O’Sullivan off the TV to make some money.
Today he lived up to his ‘Amazing’ nickname by giving the Rocket the brush-off in front of the cameras in the Northern Ireland Open.
Until the start of this year, Leeds potter Grace used to sell portraits of famous snooker players when he was not knocking in balls on the baize.
In September 2021, he finished a paid commission of O’Sullivan lifting one of his record-equalling seven World Snooker Championships at the Crucible.
The world No.49 probably could not imagine that he would end up beating the same subject in the last 64, especially as he had been stuffed 4-0 in their last encounter.
Grace – who hit a top break of 94 – came from 2-0 down to win 4-3 but overcame nervy moments in the penultimate frame when he could have thrown it all away.
Grace, who now faces China’s Tian Pengfei, said: “I made hard work of that. I got over the line in the end.
“You don’t normally get a second chance against Ronnie. I could have won 4-2 but lost cue ball and missed a smelly one.
“That’s when the snooker Gods don’t forgive you but luckily they were on my side today.
“At 2-0 down, it was going really badly and I am proud I found the cue-ball control to get a foothold in the match.
“When you play the legends, they get better when they go in front.
“I have wanted to prove I can do it on the biggest stage – anyone down the rankings does that – and when you have a chance you have to take it.”
On his passion and hobby for the canvas, Grace added: “I’ve done a few paintings in the past. I have had to give it a backseat as I don’t have the time when I play snooker matches.
“I’ve done one of Ronnie, which I did last summer for a fella.”
O’Sullivan’s last Home Nations Series win came five years ago in the English Open and he follows top rival Judd Trump out of the early exit door this week in Belfast.
Jimmy White, the six-time world championship finalist, said: “David Grace played fantastically well and showed what a great player he is.
“To do it on the centre stage against the world champion in a venue like this – it will be great confidence for him going forward. He deserved his win despite being 2-0 down.”
News/ 1 day ago
EU imposes sanctions for sexual violence
On International Women’s Day, the EU is taking a stand against sexual violence: it...
News/ 1 day ago
Women’s Day in Iran: No day and every day
The official women’s day has no fixed place in the calendar in Iran. One thing...
News/ 2 weeks ago
Biden versus Putin: two speeches, two worlds
In Warsaw, the US President responded indirectly to the speech by the Russian ruler...