Ronnie O’Sullivan survived a huge upset to reach the quarter-finals of the UK Championship with a 6-5 win over Thai player Sunny Akani.
The 22-year-old took everyone by surprise and twice led the match by two frames before being pegged back by the five-time world champion.
Akani even had an opportunity to win the match in the final deciding frame but O’Sullivan’s experience helped him pull through.
And the 42-year-old was thankful in the end to get across the line, heaping praise on his opponent and tipping him to become a superstar of the future.
“Sunny played a fantastic match and his long-ball potting… He didn’t miss one!” O’Sullivan told Eurosport.
“Sometimes I thought, ’I’ve got him here’ but bang he would slam one in and he made some really good breaks.
“The most impressive thing was he really enjoyed himself out there and the crowd loved him.”
Turning to the world no 84, he added: “You’re gonna be popular with the British fans because you play with a smile on your face. They like to see that and he’s good for the game.
And when asked if Akani could be a superstar of the future, O’Sullivan said: “Oh absolutely.
“At 22 he has so much time and he probably hasn’t had an amateur career like I had so he’s coming in and he’s just going to get better and better.
“I think Thailand have a superstar here.
“James Wattana was great for snooker in Thailand but this guy is definitely going to be bringing the sport back, [he’s] very, very good.”