David Gilbert enjoyed a dream debut as he continued the streak of Masters upsets this year at the Alexandra Palace on Monday evening.
The Englishman was expected to be up against it with 2018 champion Mark Allen his last 16 opponent, but ran out a fully deserved 6-1 victor in London.
The 38 year-old gained his first invite to the prestigious invitational after establishing himself as a top 16 player in the last year.
Gilbert, who has been the runner-up in four ranking events including three times in the last 18 months, got off to a perfect start with breaks of 77 and 121 helping him establish a 2-0 cushion.
Allen was poised to get off the mark in the third frame but a 58 from Gilbert helped him to extend his advantage further and the world number 11 duly won the fourth as well to lead 4-0 at the mid-session interval.
Allen, who looked tired throughout the contest, won a scrappy fifth frame to avoid the whitewash.
However, that was as good as it got for the Northern Irishman as a terrific Gilbert stepped it up again with contributions of 95 and 53 sealing an excellent victory.
In four first round matches so far this week there have been four Masters upsets – underlining why many pundits say that this is one of the toughest events on the calendar to triumph in.
There’s the old cliché that every encounter is like a final and that has been highlighted so far with Allen’s fellow former champions Ding Junhui, Mark Selby, and Neil Robertson all suffering early demises.
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) January 13, 2020
Earlier on day two, Robertson succumbed to a monumental fight back from Stephen Maguire to be denied a quarter-final berth.
The Australian appeared to be coasting when he led 5-1 but Maguire stormed back to win the remaining five frames and pinch the win in the decider.
Gilbert and Maguire will now go head-to-head with a semi-final place on Saturday at stake.
On Tuesday, reigning champion and world number one Judd Trump will be hoping his favourite’s tag doesn’t hinder his chances like it has with several of his rivals.
The world champion meets Shaun Murphy in the afternoon before John Higgins and Barry Hawkins do battle in the evening session.