Judd Trump looked the part as he reached the second round of the Betfair World Championship this morning.
The 2011 runner-up, making a fashion statement as he donned his favourite studded pair of £900 designer slip-on shoes, never looked in danger of joining the big-name casualties that the Crucible has lost in the opening four days of the tournament.
And on the morning of day five the 23-year-old world number three demonstrated he is in the kind of form to cause damage, sealing a 10-5 win against Dominic Dale.
Trump fired in breaks of 104, 73 and 61 to scupper any hopes 41-year-old Dale had of fighting back from his overnight 6-3 deficit, although the beaten Welshman almost snatched the sizeable consolation of a 147 maximum break, only to miss the 13th red in the 14th frame.
Trump said: “It was good. I felt really comfortable out there, relaxed and with no pressure. I think it showed in how I played.
“If I play like I did today I’ll have a good chance.
“I know a lot of people are saying that anyone can win it but in my opinion there’s only three or four who can.
“If that certain amount of players play well then one of them is going to win it.”
Dale snatched the opener after their 10am start but three in a row from Trump took him one frame away from a last-16 clash with Matthew Stevens or Marco Fu.
Dale then fired in his 96 break – 12 reds and blacks – as the £35,000 jackpot remained elusive when he rattled a long red around the jaws of the yellow pocket.
A chipped black ball had to be replaced at that stage, before Trump polished off his win.
After early losses for John Higgins, Mark Williams, Mark Allen and, most surprisingly of all, Stephen Maguire, who lost to eccentric world number 70 Dechawat Poomjaeng last night, Trump was delighted to make it through without a scare.
Trump also had the highest break of the tournament so far, yesterday’s 142, putting him in line for a £10,000 bonus unless it is bettered.
The Bristol-born potter was full of swagger two years ago in Sheffield but sickness affected him 12 months ago, and he lost a spicy second-round match against Ali Carter.
The confidence remains in his game, with Trump saying: “It’s always been there.
“Is my all-round game better now? It’s hard to tell. In those couple of weeks when I reached the semi-finals my potting was so good I didn’t really need to play safe.”
Dale said: ``I was very impressed with Judd today. He played absolutely tremendously.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for Judd and the way he’s playing. To achieve what he has at a young age anyway is incredible, at a time when he’s still learning really.
“And he seems to be the type of chap who will adapt if he ever needs to. I like his flamboyance.
“His shoes? Well, yeah. They win matches on their own don’t they.”
He managed to laugh off the disappointment of failing with his 147 bid.
“The minute Judd left me in I had nothing to lose and immediately I was looking for a maximum or at least the highest break,” he added.
“It went well for the first 12 reds.”
Ding Junhui also made comfortable progress, as China's big World Championship hope began positively with a 10-5 win over Scottish veteran Alan McManus.
McManus, playing at the World Championship for the first time since 2006 but a two-time former semi-finalist, could not score heavily enough to seriously trouble the former UK and Masters champion, leaving Graeme Dott as the only Scot still standing in the tournament.