It was another good day for the majority of the marquee names as the Welsh Open field got whittled down to the last 16 on Wednesday.
The biggest upset, of sorts, came with the defeat of Shaun Murphy, but that can hardly legislate as a major surprise given his loss came at the hands of the in-form Luca Brecel.
Belgium’s Brecel, who reached the semi-finals in Cardiff 12 months ago and was runner-up in both the German Masters and Shoot-out this month already, took advantage of huge misfortune from Murphy in the fourth frame.
Leading 2-1, Murphy potted a difficult black to seemingly move further clear only to watch in agony as the cue ball raced around the table and into a corner pocket – gifting Brecel the frame.
The tie turned with that one shot and the 20 year-old controlled the last two frames to set up another intriguing clash with China’s Ding Junhui.
Ding has struggled badly for much of this season, so much so that his top 16 membership and automatic qualification for the World Championship are under threat.
However, consecutive deciding frame triumphs over Joe Swail and Matthew Selt have offered some hope of a revival in a tournament that he previously won in 2012.
It was a disappointing day for the Irish left in the draw, with Dubliners Fergal O’Brien and Ken Doherty both suffering 4-2 defeats to world no.1 Mark Selby and Joe Perry respectively.
In complete contrast to the last ranking event in Berlin, as if to prove a point the star names have so far excelled.
Ronnie O’Sullivan was again in superb form, at one stage accumulating an unanswered 300 points against his opponent Jimmy Robertson, as he romped to another 4-0 demolition job.
Often O’Sullivan can win tournaments without performing his best but there is an aura of almost invincibility surrounding his displays at the moment.
That may obviously change when he comes up against more formidable foes in the business end of proceedings, but he looks in the kind of mood where he could end up capturing the trophy at a canter.
O’Sullivan will expect to win his upcoming encounter with Yu Delu at least, but Selby, or the Jester’s next opponent in home favourite Mark Williams, would provide an immediate step up in class for the quarter-finals.
In the opposite side of the draw, a player who looks in equally dominating form is the defending champion John Higgins.
The Scot has lost just one frame in three matches so far but comes up against Welshman Michael White in the fourth round.
The presences of Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen, Barry Hawkins, Marco Fu, Martin Gould and even Ben Woollaston, the 2015 runner-up don’t forget, ensures that this year’s Welsh Open remains pretty difficult to predict.
Thursday will see the eight quarter-finalists determined.