His opponent started by racing to more than 600 points, leaving Peter Gilchrist more than 200 points in his wake. At that point, the Singaporean was, quite literally, looking for a break.
He got what he was looking for.
Using his 58-inch Green Baize cue like a magic wand, he made the red ball disappear repeatedly to claw his way to a 1,500-1,085 victory over world No.1 David Causier in the long format final of the International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) World Billiards Championship in Leeds, England, on Wednesday night.
In nine visits to the table, Gilchrist hit eight centuries, with his biggest break of the evening 179 points.
In stark contrast, Causier had just one century (156) in eight visits to the table.
"Sometimes, the harder you try, the worse you will get. But this time, one shot after another went in," the 45-year-old Gilchrist, who gave up his British passport for Singaporean citizenship in 2006, recalled.
"I potted a few centuries and my opponent started missing."
His stirring fightback in the final has stoked his ambition to go out in a blaze of glory.
Currently ranked fifth in the world, the Middlesbrough native said: "I have probably another five to 10 really good years. My end goal is to be No.1 again."
The win completes a hat-trick of a world title every decade for Gilchrist, who also lifted the trophy in 1994 and 2001.
"But I am not going to wait until 2020," he intoned. "I want to win it again next year."
On the flipside, Singapore's top billiards player has been weighed down by past disappointments, most notably his two bronze medals in the 2006 and 2010 Asian Games, when he was expected to deliver gold.
He said: "But this world title has made up for them. I've been training seven hours daily and the effort has paid off. The world championship is the ultimate in the sport, it's the big one."
The event was played in the long format where players win if they reach 400 points for the group stages, 1,000 for quarter-finals, 1,250 for the semi-finals and 1,500 for the final. In the short format, winners are determined once they hit 100 points.
The long format is well-suited to Gilchrist's game.
He said: "Matches in the short format can be over in 20 minutes.
"But not many players can break over 1,000 points in the world, so, if it's a long format tournament, I fancy beating anybody."
He can say that with authority as he is the world-record holder for the highest billiards break of 1,346 points set in 2007.
Gilchrist boasts a perfect record in the just-ended tournament, which attracted 59 competitors.
In the group stage, he won all four matches, beating England's Ian Williamson (400-145), India's Subramanian Venkateshwaran (400-65), Australia's Anna Lynch (400-40) and Vietnam's Kien Nguyen Trung (400-69).
In the last eight, he defeated India's Rupesh Shah (1,000-853) and, in the semi-final, he overturned a deficit of more than 100 points to vanquish Alok Kumar, also of India, 1,250-916.
He hopes his latest win will propel him to success in the Myanmar SEA Games in December.
He said: "I won the SEA Games gold in 2009 and 2011. I would like to complete the hat-trick."
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