Ali Carter and Mark Williams became the last two players to enter the second round of the World Championship on a quieter day in Sheffield.
The opening five days had been swarmed with shock results and controversial press conferences but Thursday proved to be more mundane as the event takes a respite from all the commotion.
The first of three days that doesn’t require a morning session, the bout of play got under way with Ali Carter comfortably completing a 10-2 triumph over fellow Englishman Mark Davis.
‘Captain’ Carter, a qualified pilot, has been in dreadful form in the last 12-18 months but won successive matches in China and is apparently feeling more confident at the Crucible this year.
A former finalist, Carter knocked in a superb 132 to seal the deal and his reward is a meeting with Judd Trump in the last 16.
In the last opening round tussle, Mark Williams seemed to be heading to a comprehensive victory over Liu Chuang when he raced into a 9-3 lead.
However, the 21 year-old Chinese won the next frame on the blue to force an interval, returned to get within four frames on the pink and then added another to really mount the pressure on Williams – who has been prone to spectacular collapses in the latter part of his career.
But the Welshman dug deep in the 15th frame and with the aid of a couple of chances was able to compile enough points to finally get across the winning line.
The victory sets up a mouth-watering battle with fellow former world no1 and world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, a player he has amazingly failed to beat in the last ten years.
While the first round wrapped up, the second round was simultaneously getting under way with both Neil Robertson and Stephen Maguire taking respective 5-3 advantages into their second sessions with David Gilbert and Joe Perry.
Gilbert started well against the 2010 champion and took a 3-1 lead into the mid-session interval but the Australian was a different animal on resumption of play, firing in two tons as he notched up four quick frames on the bounce.
In another high quality affair, Perry took an early lead with a 115 break only for Maguire to respond with consecutive 101s to lead 2-1.
With every frame boasting at least a 50 plus break, both players will be relatively content at how the day’s play ended with a two frame cushion for the Scot.
Of course, the second round is played in a best of 25 frames format so there’s plenty of time for a turn around in both of those clashes.
Click here to see my predictions for the last 16.