Mensur Suljovic was dragged into a battle by Michael Smith. After being 5-0 and 7-2 up, Suljovic was forced to break Smith’s throw to avoid a deciding leg.

The 10-8 victory was hard-earned, and Suljovic felt a mixture of relief and annoyance afterwards.

The sixth seed said: “It was a very hard game and I’m happy I won. I won so that’s good but I was five legs ahead and I should have got it finished.”

The Gentle notched up five 180s and two 116 checkouts. Smith replied with a 110 and a 130 during his comeback, but Suljovic prevailed with a 99.89 average.

“Michael is a very hard player so to be 5-0 up I was happy. I played well and my finishes were brilliant at the start,” he said.

“At eight-eight I thought I would lose but the 116 was super. I showed some good form and I know that the next game will be very hard too because it’s the 16 best players in the world.”

Next up for the 2017 Champions League winner is a tricky quarter-final tie against world champion Rob Cross.

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Author: Ed McCosh