Judd Trump marched towards a quarter-final place at the Betfred.com World Championship as he sped into an 11-5 lead against Martin Gould.
Trump believes he can claim the Crucible title this year and he offered more compelling evidence to support that confident view as Gould suffered in their second session.
If there is any consolation for Gould, who slipped from 5-3 at the start of the session to within two frames of defeat, it comes in the fact that he knows an 11-5 lead is not necessarily a winning one.
He too led by that margin at the last-16 stage last year, but Neil Robertson fought back to win 13-12.
The 29-year-old from Pinner in north-west London will return for tomorrow morning’s final session with a glimmer of hope, but Trump should not crumble as Gould did last year.
Trump had a break of 108 in the second frame of the afternoon, but Gould managed to cut his lead to 6-5 with runs of 76 and 72, only for the two-frame gap to be restored with 69 from the man who knocked out Robertson in the first round this year.
“If in doubt hit it as hard as you can?!!” was Trump’s message at the interval, as he turned to Twitter.
He had smashed the white off the table at the end of the fourth frame of the afternoon, and he continued to be the aggressor when they returned, winning all four remaining with runs of 51 – twice – 84 and 67.
An obvious turning point came in frame 13 which went to a respotted black, and when Gould went for an ambitious double and missed it was left for Trump to put away.
Trump, 21, is considered a world champion in waiting, and has been ever since making a 147 break in an under-16s tournament at the age of 14, making him the youngest player to have an in-competition maximum.
The seven years since that magical moment have not all been kind to the Bristol youngster, but he is making good on his talent at last, and winning the China Open at the start of April has shaped his remarkable self-belief.
Ali Carter or last year’s runner-up Graeme Dott awaits the winner of Trump’s match.
The first session of Dott and Carter’s opening session was on the slow side, but the pace did not worry Dott who had trailed 3-1 early on but took four frames in a row to develop a 5-3 lead.
The Larkhall man, world champion in 2006, had a 111 break in frame five but looked like being pegged back to 4-4 when he missed a short-range pink to the middle pocket.
However, Essex potter Carter squandered a chance to a corner and that let the Scot back in to snaffle a lead to take into tonight’s middle session of the best-of-25-frames match.
Mark Williams moved to within one frame of a quarter-final place as he continued his mauling of Jamie Cope this morning.
The Welshman rolled in consecutive century breaks as he built up a formidable 12-4 lead over his opponent from Stoke.
Williams, 36, has surprisingly only reached the last-eight stage once since landing his second Crucible title in 2003.
That was in 2006, when he lost out to Ronnie O’Sullivan, but he looked a certain winner against Cope.
He had built a 7-1 lead yesterday despite only having a top break of 72 and two other breaks above 50, however when he returned this morning the two-time former champion was in a mood for more.
Cope began the morning with a break of 96 to take the opening frame.
Williams was never in any trouble though and had runs of 53 and 61 before firing in 106 and 109 in back-to-back frames to lead 12-2.
It seemed inevitable he would win inside two sessions, allowing him the evening off, but Cope plucked the next two frames to avoid that humiliation.