Alan McManus eventually came through the victor in a dire last 16 affair with Ireland’s Ken Doherty in Sheffield on Saturday.
The Scot had featured in the second round 13 times previously in his career but had only emerged victorious on three of those occasions.
The two-time semi-finalist at the Crucible began as marginal favourite having enjoyed a much better season than Doherty, but the contest was always expected to be a drawn-out battle with plenty of bouts of safety.
That indeed came to fruition as the clash of the oldies – Doherty, 44, the oldest player in the tournament and 43 year-old McManus – hinged significantly on both’s ability, or lack thereof, to score heavily.
The fact that it took Doherty 14 frames to better a high break of just 26 was a damning statistic that led to the 1997 world champion understandably falling 10-3 behind.
This was ultimately the difference between the pair as, despite the fact Doherty was able to make the score more respectable by winning four frames on the trot, his Scottish opponent always enjoyed that useful cushion as he stumbled towards the finish line.
Earlier on in the encounter, McManus had knocked in breaks of 69, 107, 71, 65 and 54 as he took advantage of Doherty’s lack of scoring power.
As the conclusion approached, there were a few moments to suggest that the former Masters champion was maybe going to let his large lead slip away – especially when Doherty twice got to within three frames at 10-7 and 11-8 – but he took the last two frames of a forgettable match to reach his first quarter-final in nine years.
Ironically, that run came on the back of another success over Doherty at the same stage in 2005.
McManus, whose mediocre 88% pot success rate dwarfed Doherty’s diabolical 82%, will have to improve dramatically if he is going to make the last 4 for the first time since 1993.
The Glaswegian will next challenge world no.2 Mark Selby, who must be feeling fairly content with his prospects of another semi-final place himself.
Earlier in the day, Barry Hawkins came from 9-7 – he had been 9-5 down prior to the climax of the second session – to overcome Ricky Walden 13-11 and inflict a second defeat at the championship in as many seasons over his fellow Englishman.
Judd Trump still wasn’t at his best but opened up a 6-2 advantage over Ryan Day while Dominic Dale went one better, ending his first session with Michael Wasley 7-1 clear.