Jimmy White is two matches away from a return to the World Snooker Championship after a gritty 6-4 win over Michael Georgiou in the second qualifying round in Sheffield.
White, the six-time finalist who has not competed at the Crucible since 2006, took the first frame against 32-year-old Cypriot Georgiou.
However, Georgiou edged the next three frames to lead by two at the interval.
A break of 54 saw White over the line in the fifth and a snooker behind the brown, which Georgiou needed three attempts at, helped the 58-year-old draw level.
White took a scrappy seventh but a wayward safety shot let Georgiou, a Crucible debutant last year, in for a classy 121 clearance to make it 4-4.
White came out on top after a safety battle in the next to move to within one frame of victory and finished his opponent off in two visits to reach the penultimate qualifying round, where he will face Robert Milkins.
“I’m delighted,” White told Eurosport. “From 3-1 down I was all at sea, missing safety shots, pots and positional shots.
“Mike had a couple of chances and he let me off, and I settled a little bit. I tried to play snooker and enjoy it, and from 3-3 I felt OK.
“I am really playing well – although it might not look like it – but against Robert I’m going to have to up my game again.”
‘The Whirlwind’ is only two wins away from his first visit to the Crucible Theatre for the first round of the sport’s biggest tournament since 2006 in what is astonishingly his 40th appearance at the World Championship.
It is a bitter pill to swallow for former Shoot Out winner Georgiou, who enjoyed breaks of 70, 53 and 121 yet still fell to defeat as the world number 62 faces up to returning to qualifying school to win back his tour card a year after himself reaching the Crucible.