Ali Carter claimed his first ranking title for seven years as he beat Tom Ford 10-3 in the German Masters final in Berlin – and credited Whitney Houston for inspiring him.
After Ford took the opening two frames, the first with a break of 121, Carter hit back emphatically by winning each of the next six, which included a century break of his own (120).
Ford pulled a frame back before the end of the first session, before Carter produced another surge in the evening, with four in a row seeing him clinch victory and regain the trophy, 10 years on from first winning it.
The 43-year-old, for whom it was a fifth ranking title and first since the 2016 World Open, said afterwards: “When you play the game as long as I have, you kind of think it won’t happen again, but you have to keep believing.
“I’m really proud of the way I played today. I put Tom under a lot of pressure. It was a massive occasion for both of us, but arguably Tom, he’s after his first trophy, his first ranking event, so I had that in the back of my mind and I just tried to keep the pressure on as much as I could.
“I’ve got a great team behind me now, the people behind me know who they are and I just want to say thank you, and I’m just delighted to be in the winners’ circle again.
“Tom started really well, he made a century, I was 2-0 down. I still felt good, I thought I hadn’t done anything wrong yet and I sort of got going in the middle and won six frames on the spin.
“It’s so pleasing to play some of my best stuff when you’re right under the cosh and I’m really proud of myself.”
Carter also revealed in an interview with World Snooker that his mindset with regard to the final had been impacted by a song by Whitney Houston.
“The journey of getting through the day, all you can see is getting to 10 (frames) seems like an absolute mile away,” Carter said.
“But you get to 10 by getting to one, to two, to three. I said ‘just say in the moment, forget 10, just break it all down into little bits, and step by step’… I heard ‘Step by Step’ by Whitney Houston and it was quite a memorable song, and I just thought ‘yeah, step by step, day by day’ and I’ve got there.”
Carter added, laughing: “The last two or three months I have dreamt three or four times that I’ve won a tournament, and when I’ve woken up I’ve been absolutely distraught because it was a dream!”