Jak Jones conjured the first upset of the 2023 World Snooker Championship with a 10-6 victory over Ali Carter on Sunday in Sheffield.
The Welsh debutant led 5-4 after the first session, and when the pair shared the opening four frames of the second session, a tense finale looked in store.
But Jones won a crucial 14th frame on the black to move 8-6 in front, and after a 79 contribution he took the last frame to complete a dream win.
“It was amazing actually,” Jak Jones, who will face Neil Robertson in the last 16, said in his post-match interview.
“It was amazing walking out in front of the crowd for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect, but it felt really good and I held myself together well.”
“I felt quite good, I was a lot more calm than I thought I would be. I didn’t know how nervous I was going to be or how calm I was going to be.
“For it to be at the Crucible as well, it probably is the biggest win of my career. I have beaten some top players, but it’s got to be the biggest win being the first time playing here and stuff.
“I’ve just being trying to stay as calm as possible – not think too much or get ahead of myself or anything. Just try to practice as much as I can.
“There were times when I didn’t feel calm, but the frame where I won to go 8-6 ahead – the 14th frame where he left me a gap, he was quite unlucky actually to leave it – and I made a good clearance. I didn’t feel like I was going to do it, but I did it.
“It felt good (to get the win). Strange and a relief, but I can’t say that I don’t feel good.”
Success for Jones on his debut adds to a long list of Welsh names who have performed strongly at the Crucible Theatre on their first appearance.
In 1979, Terry Griffiths famously captured the world title at his maiden attempt as a qualifier.
Lee Walker, Matthew Stevens, Jamie Jones, and Michael White all reached the quarter-finals on their respective debuts as well.
Defeat for Carter will be disappointing considering his late-season form in which he triumphed in the German Masters and reached the latter stages of both the Players Championship and the WST Classic.
Elsewhere on day two in Sheffield, Luca Brecel finally got a Crucible win under his belt at the sixth time of asking.
The Belgian Bullet nearly threw away a three-frame advantage late on, but after seeing opponent Ricky Walden rally from 6-9 down to force a decider, Brecel clinched it with a timely break of 84.
Neil Robertson, meanwhile, was in devastating form as he compiled a rare pair of 146 total clearances in rapid fashion against Wu Yize.
The Australian compiled four tons in total as he thrashed the Chinese youngster 10-3 to get his campaign for a first world title since 2010 off to a good start.
In the other match that reached its conclusion, 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham comfortably overcame David Gilbert to reach the second round.
Two encounters are at their halfway point heading into Monday’s play, with Ding Junhui and Jimmy Robertson leading Hossein Vafaei and Mark Williams 5-4 respectively.
Mark Allen, John Higgins, and Robert Milkins are the other seeds who will enter the fray on day three.
For the full World Snooker Championship draw, results, live scores, and session times, click here.
Featured photo credit: WST