It is 15 years since The Masters champion last won the world title but Mark Allen's bid to make history showed no signs of letting up after he became the first man to reach the quarter-finals last night.
The Northern Ireland potter was locked at 8-8 against Joe Perry but he won five frames in a row to make the Betfred World Snooker Championship quarter-finals for the first time in seven years.
With two-time defending champion Mark Selby knocked out a week ago, the top quarter of the draw has opened for Allen - and he took the first step to taking advantage by beating Selby's conqueror Perry 13-8.
It was far from plain sailing, with Perry, a former semi-finalist at the Crucible Theatre, a sharp thorn in Allen's side but, where once he might have wilted and failed to get over the line, the Antrim ace accelerated when it mattered.
"I wanted to come in and be a bit more aggressive. I was aggressive but I was sensible," he said.
"I had one blue I missed but I played perfect snooker really. It is nice to finish the way I did with a hundred.
"There was a guy who put the 'ton up' sign up when I was on 20, and I said he was a bit premature but when I got there I said 'you can put that up now' and gave him a bit of stick.
"I felt very relaxed out there. You need to play great to beat Joe, he is not someone I overly enjoy playing. I had to go and play well, I am very happy."
Allen was heading for a collision course with Selby in the second round before the defending champion bowed out early.
And although Allen stated he did not see it as an advantage, Perry, although a huge talent, is no longer on the same level as those at the very top of the game.
Despite that, he fought back to 8-8 ahead of the evening session but Allen reeled off the last five frames in just over an hour and a half, with breaks of 133, 74 and 122 the highlight.
"On my day I can beat anyone. I don't want to get too carried away because we are only two matches in," he added.
Ronnie O'Sullivan trails Ali Carter 9-7 in their Betfred World Championship second-round match.
O'Sullivan, who beat Carter in the final in both 2008 and 2012, is seeking a sixth Crucible title.
However, he went into the second session of their best-of-25-frame contest 5-3 down and his chances of progress were not helped as he lost the first three frames.
Although O'Sullivan ended the poor run by winning the next two, he was far from his fluent best and Carter made him pay with a break of 51 to go 9-5 ahead.
However, O'Sullivan finished with a flourish, as breaks of 79 and 105 saw him reduce the deficit to two frames again. The pair resume on Saturday afternoon.
Earlier, Lyu Haotian hit back from an 8-3 deficit to trail Barry Hawkins 9-7 in their best-of-25-frame encounter, while Kyren Wilson established a 5-3 advantage over Jamie Jones. Both matches are due to resume on Saturday morning.
•Watch the snooker World Championship LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Ronnie O'Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.