Confident qualifier Jamie Jones believes he can be “dangerous” in this year’s World Championship after stunning Stephen Maguire 10-4 at the Crucible.
The Welshman caused the first upset of the tournament as he roared past world number eight Maguire, who is the first seed to bow out in Sheffield.
Leading 5-4 overnight having trailed 3-0 at one stage, world number 69 Jones was in total command; dropping just 48 points along the way.
Breaks of 73 and 81 moved him 7-4 ahead, while a run of 65 sent him to within a frame of victory at the mid-session interval.
And the 2012 quarter-finalist, who only returned to the tour this season via Q School, needed no second invitation to book his place in round two, where he will face either Ding Junhui or Stuart Bingham.
As for two-time semi-finalist Maguire, who was appearing at the Crucible for an 18th successive year, defeat marked the ninth time in which he has fallen at the first hurdle on the sport’s biggest stage.
“I was just solid throughout the match,” Jones told Eurosport.
“I understood that the table wasn’t great and I used it to my advantage. I didn’t go for anything silly and it just worked for me.
“I thought my shot selection tonight was particularly good. I had a couple of long ones that I could have gone for, but I understood that I didn’t need to gift him anything.
“I’m really proud of how I’m thinking out there, which is hard to do sometimes.
“I’m confident at the moment, which makes me quite dangerous really.”
World number three Neil Robertson was also in a ruthless mood on Sunday evening; rattling off four consecutive frames to seal a thumping 10-3 win over Liang Wenbo.
Leading 6-3 in a repeat of last year’s showdown at this stage, the Thunder came roaring out of the blocks with 100, while he moved 8-3 up on the pink after former English Open champion Liang missed a long blue to close the gap.
And the 2010 champion did not look back, with further breaks of 110 and 73 securing a sixth straight success against his Chinese opponent.
The recent Tour Championship winner is one of the favourites to lift a second Crucible crown, but insists he is not looking too far ahead after successfully navigating his way through the opening test.
“I’m very happy with my performance in the match,” he said.
“My focus was to win all four frames (this evening) and win 10-3.
“Over the last six or seven years, I’ve breezed through the first two rounds and everybody’s made me favourite in four or five of those.
“I just need to lower my expectations; don’t get too excited and don’t expect people are going to falter under the pressure.
“While you’re still in that cubicle format, the pressure’s very different.
“But once you get to that one-table set-up, that’s when the really big-hitters come into their own.”
Earlier in the day, Masters champion Yan Bingtao prevailed a 10-6 winner against Martin Gould.
Although the Pinner Potter took the opening frame of the second session to level at 5-5, the 21-year-old won five of the next six frames – hitting back-to-back centuries of 130 and 116 along the way – to remain on course to break Stephen Hendry’s record and become the youngest-ever winner of this event.
World number 15 David Gilbert also booked his place in round two; sealing a 10-4 success over good friend Chris Wakelin.
Gilbert, who reached the semi-finals here two years ago, made three centuries on the way to opening a commanding 7-2 advantage after the first session.
And although he lost two of the first three frames upon the resumption of the contest, a run of 84 helped see him over the line.
Meanwhile, John Higgins has work to do as he trails Tian Pengfei 4-3 overnight.
The Chinese qualifier, who beat 2006 World champion Graeme Dott to secure his second Crucible appearance, hit a top break of 111 on the way to establishing a 4-1 lead.
But four-time winner Higgins responded by winning the next two frames to claw his way back and leave the contest finely poised heading into the second session.
Higgins’ fellow Scotsman Anthony McGill holds a narrow 5-4 overnight lead against Ricky Walden.
Despite winning the opening two frames, world number 16 McGill was pegged back by three-time ranking event winner Walden, who made breaks of 112 and 105 to lead 3-2.
But the 2020 semi-finalist hit back with runs of 119 and 88 as he won three of the next four frames to edge his nose back in front.
World Snooker Championship 2021 Results
Sunday April 18
Anthony McGill 5-4 Ricky Walden (L)
Yan Bingtao 10-6 Martin Gould (R)
John Higgins 3-4 Tian Pengfei (L)
David Gilbert 10-4 Chris Wakelin (R)
Stephen Maguire 4-10 Jamie Jones (R)
Neil Robertson 10-3 Liang Wenbo (R)