Mark Allen reached the last 16 of the Alex Higgins International Trophy to the loss of just one frame on day two in Killarney.
The Northern Irishman whitewashed Paul Davison and Mike Dunn before seeing off England’s Dave Gilbert 4-1 to reach the fourth round.
The Antrim man has struggled for form in recent months through a mixture of indifferent health and questionable dedication but seemed in control of his emotions throughout the day’s play.
The former world championship semi-finalist will meet Welshman Ryan Day for a quarter-final place at the eighth Players Tour Championship event of the season.
Day has also been a player that has lost a bout of confidence in the last couple of years but has shown signs of steadying the ship since the summer.
The 31 year-old saw off the challenge of Irish amateur John Torpey in the opening round before making light work of Liu Song and Pink Ribbon champion Mark Joyce.
Indeed, it wasn’t a great day for the Irish amateurs in general – all of whom failed to make it beyond the round of 128 except for Philip Browne’s impressive deciding frame triumph over Peter Lines.
Browne, though, failed to back up his performance in the second round with a 4-0 defeat at the hands at Gilbert – and that was also the stage where Dubliner Fergal O’Brien departed following a tense 4-3 loss to north of the border’s Gerard Greene.
Greene arguably played the shot of the day in the final frame when, 14 behind and the black safe on the cushion, the World Cup international drained a long brown and removed the black into open play with the cue ball in spectacular fashion, going on to clinch the match with the last ball.
The 37 year-old was in more fluent form against his next opponent Xiao Guodong, who had earlier knocked out Ronnie O’Sullivan, and advanced to Sunday’s final day with a 4-2 victory.
Greene will face John Higgins in that last 16 encounter while Martin Gould and Neil Robertson will also battle it out in a repeat of the famous 2010 World Championship second round nail-biter.
Finally, Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng overcame Scotsmen Stephen Hendry and Stephen Maguire and will face either Tom Ford or Ben Woollaston on Sunday – the last remaining match in the top half of the draw still incomplete.
The set-up of the venue at the INEC in Kerry is pretty good but the day did not run particularly smoothly.
The electronic live scoring faltered for a significant portion of the afternoon which caused havoc for players and fans alike – resulting in the use of old manual scoreboards.
In addition, the crowds were relatively poor throughout apart from a few golden patches.
The outside tables – there are ten tables in total with one televised venue table – were often well attended but that was because there were a lot less seats available.
As many would have seen on Eurosport, the venue table was never anywhere near capacity and only drew flattering interest for the O’Sullivan vs Guodong encounter.
As well as that, it was reported that some referees didn’t turn up which meant inexperienced ones had to be drafted in at short notice.
This, quite evidently at times, garnered frustration from some of the players when the referees made a mistake or failed to keep the on-lookers under control but it was a tricky spot for them to be in.
Nevertheless, the weekend will hopefully entice people to come out and the fact that the weather forecast is relatively poor should help also. Let’s wait and see.
The full draw and results for PTC 8 can be viewed by clicking here.