Barry Hawkins dominated the final session to beat world no.1 Mark Selby 13-10 in the second round of the World Championship in Sheffield on Saturday.
The Englishman came from 9-7 down to overcome one of the major favourites by three frames, completely taking over the match after his Leicester opponent missed what proved to be three crucial balls in the 17th frame.
It is the second year in succession that Hawkins has beaten Selby at the Crucible following a 10-3 first round scoreline in the 2012 edition – granted the latter was suffering from a back and neck injury at the time.
There’ll be no such excuses this year, however, as Hawkins was clearly the better player over the long format.
Selby had chances to open up big leads at various stages of the encounter but Hawkins dug deep to hang on when it was needed and then took control of the match when it got to the nitty gritty.
It is a remarkable achievement for 34 year-old, who was almost in tears in the press conference upon realising that he had qualified for the quarter-finals for the first time.
Hawkins is the kind of consistent and under the radar performer that it would not be a surprise to see him go on and lift the title.
And considering how the bottom half of the draw is shaping up, the Kent cueist will become one of the favourites to progress to the final.
This is especially the case considering Mark King has opened up a 6-2 advantage over Ding Junhui in their first session.
The Chinese superstar was not at the races at all and 39 year-old King took advantage to establish a considerable lead.
Ding has a habit of losing at this stage and openly expressed his fears of a repeat performance prior to the start of this match.
As we all know, though, there’s plenty of time for things to turn around and the fact that King is not experienced at all under these long format conditions will work in the favour of the 26 year-old.
One key player who had no such trouble was Judd Trump, who raced away to victory over Marco Fu in convincing style.
The 2011 finalist took a narrow 9-7 lead into the final session but won the first four frames to see off his challenger by six frames.
Trump is quietly going along with his business and the way he is playing is definitely good enough to win the tournament.
Unfortunately for him, the top half is still pretty loaded with dangerous opposition.
2005 world champion Shaun Murphy is Trump’s next encounter and he has the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ali Carter, Stuart Bingham or Mark Davis to contend with should he reach the last four.
Still, Trump knows what it takes to go all the way to the final and when he is on form, which he clearly is, the Bristol potter is as formidable as anybody on the circuit.
Speaking of Ronnie and Carter, the pair finished their first session 5-3 in favour of the defending champion.
O’Sullivan appeared set to build an ominous lead when he raced ahead 5-1 but Carter ground out the two remaining frames to guarantee that it is still all to play for.
Either way, the manner in which the tournament has developed, you would have to believe that the champion is most likely going to come from the top half of the draw.
The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.