David Morris clinched two deciding frame victories before a 4-2 triumph over Peter Lines sent him into the last 16 of PTC 9 in Belgium.
The Kilkenny cueist has suffered from shocking form in the last twelve months or so but bounced back with three important wins in Antwerp and, hopefully with it, will regain some confidence in his ability.
The 22 year-old began the day with a 4-3 defeat of Stuart Carrington before he repeated the scoreline against former top 16 member Barry Hawkins.
Morris played particularly well in that encounter, scoring two centuries in the opening three frames and came from 3-2 behind to clinch a tense decider.
In the last 32, the Irishman saw off the challenge of Peter Lines – who earlier in the week dramatically knocked out Ken Doherty in the final qualifying round for the UK Championship
It could prove to be a paramount day’s snooker for Morris who is ranked well outside of the key top 64 in the world at the moment.
With the business end of the campaign approaching, it is a necessity for the former Irish national champion to find the level of performance that had people predicting him as a star of the future only a matter of seasons ago.
At 22, Morris is still young enough to excel in the game but would suffer a major setback if he was to drop off the Main Tour next May.
His opponent on Sunday will be another player tipped for stardom in Jack Lisowski.
The Englishman put the disappointment of failing to qualify for the UKs behind him with a trio of triumphs over Marcus Campbell, Liu Song and Andrew Pagett.
Elsewhere, former world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan looked in ominously devastating form in reaching round four to the loss of just a solitary frame.
The ‘Rocket’ fired in two tons and a host of other big breaks throughout the day as he seeks his third Players Tour Championship event of the campaign.
O’Sullivan will face old rival Stephen Lee for a place in the quarter-finals – his fellow Englishman overcoming Stephen Hendry 4-3 in a closely fought second round clash.
Neil Robertson, also a double PTC winner on the series this year and champion in Killarney a few weeks ago, came from 3-1 behind to see off the spirited challenge of Norway’s Kurt Maflin while 20 year-old Michael White, another heralded as one of the sport’s golden boys of the future, will be his opponent on Sunday following hard-fought wins over Stephen Maguire and Steve Davis.
Finally, Scots Graeme Dott and Alan McManus will battle it out to be in the final eight – the former especially enjoying a difficult day with a treble of deciding frame triumphs.
Tomorrow, the likes of world number one Mark Selby, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Judd Trump get their PTC 9 events under way as the second half of the draw finds another eight players to complete the last 16 line-up.
Irishmen Ken Doherty, Fergal O’Brien and David Hogan will also be in action while the day could mark the last time we see Belgium’s greatest Bjorn Haneveer in professional competition after deciding to retire from the game due to financial reasons. The local hero plays Jimmy White in the first round.
The crowds were excellent over the course of Friday which once again highlights the potential for growth in the game across Europe.