Mark Allen started his BetVictor Welsh Open quarter-final in angry mood – but it was beaten opponent Michael White that was himself left fuming at the end.
The 29-year-old Allen will now take on former world champion Neil Robertson in Saturday's semi-final at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.
And the world No9 from Antrim, enraged by a comment on TV from legend Steve Davis before his 5-0 win, took it out on White. Davis had suggested that Allen was “more Championship than Premiership”.
After a pivotal second frame that saw Allen hit back from needing a snooker after White unluckily fouled the pink and left a free ball, the Northern Irishman clenched his teeth and pumped his fist.
World No17 White, 24, later admitted the triumphalist behaviour left him seething given it was not Allen’s good play but some good fortune that saw him go 2-0 up.
Allen said: “The fist pump was part of the gameplan, as was not apologising for some good running in the next frame. I thought it might get to him.
“He was playing in a big match in front of his home Welsh crowd, I have done the same in Northern Ireland and you are under a lot more pressure.
“I tried to get him more frustrated, and when he smashed the reds in frame three I knew I had him. He is such a good player, I needed a game plan to contain him.
“If he said afterwards that he won’t forget the fist pump next time we play that’s fine – but it shows my game plan worked. It is exactly what I wanted to happen, add more pressure.
“I got a lot of criticism today, a few things I saw and read that really spurred me on. Fellow professionals were criticising me for my style of play and all sorts.
“Steve Davis made a comment. Shaun Murphy made a comment, but I know him well and we have had a chat about it privately, I sort of know where he was coming from.
“Some of these comments were very derogatory and I said to my coach Terry Griffiths I couldn’t wait to get out there.
“I have only won two major ranking events, it is very disappointing, but altogether I have won eight events as a pro which not many can say. They are the same fields.
“Neil has beaten me a few times in big events, and tonight’s plan won’t work on him as he is far too experienced so I will have to be somewhere near my best.
“He is flying, won the UK and the Champion of Champions, and the player of the season to date but there are only four left now and I can beat him.”
White said: “I would like to apologise to all the people from Wales who came to support me tonight. After the way I lost the second frame I lost it for a while.
“I didn’t like the fist pump, really because of the way he won the frame. It wasn’t his good play, I have been very unlucky to knock in the pink and leave a free ball.
“It is something I won’t forget for a long time, certainly when I play him again next time.”
Photograph courtesy of Monique Limbos