Seventeen-year-old Yan Bingtao produced the finest display of his promising career yet as he cruised to a 6-1 drubbing of five-times world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
It was a result that saw the whole snooker world sit up and take notice as Bingtao dominated arguably snooker’s most talented player in history in the first round of the International Championship.
Incredibly O’Sullivan (yes O’Sullivan) failed to pot a ball in the last four frames as the Chinese star produced snooker of the highest quality to record a thumping win.
Breaks of 91, 52 and 73 saw a 2-1 lead expand to 5-1 before he clinched the match winning the next frame fairly comfortably.
Bingtao has impressed snooker fans and pundits already in his first couple of seasons as a professional.
He came on the scene when he won the World Cup for China’s B team with Zhou Yuelong in 2015. That success allowed him ti play in the Champions of Champions event later that year where he beat Shaun Murphy 4-2 in the opening round.
And the teenager earned rave reviews in this year’s World Championship from the same opponent after pushing Murphy all the way in the opening round at the Crucible only to lose 10-8.
A relieved Murphy said after the match: “You just know how good he is. I can’t praise him enough, his colleagues and his generation of Chinese players.
“Yan has got that certain something, where he’s got a bit of swagger. He actually believes he is as good as he is, and I remember one of the things that somebody said to me when I was younger, ‘If only you knew how good you are then you’d be it’.”
But victory over O’Sullivan will no doubt underline the potential he has.
Snooker commentator Neal Foulds said he witnessed the “future” of the sport after seeing Bingtao’s sensational performance.
Remarkably that was not the only big shock of Day 2 of the International Championship as home favourite and world number 2 Ding Junhui crashed out losing 6-4 to Yorkshire’s Oliver Lines.
Ding is suffering from a painful eye infection but managed to build leads of 3-1 and 4-3. But it was Lines who finished strongly to take the last three frames with top runs of 78 and 71.
World Champion Mark Selby won a hard fought battle against Cao Yupeng. Selby, yet to reach the semi-finals of a ranking event this season, trailed 4-3 but recovered to win the last three frames.
World number 3 John Higgins ensured his place in the Last 32 with a 6-1 win over Niu Zhuang while Shaun Murphy edged through a 6-5 winner after recovering from 4-2 down to beat Mei Xiwen.
And world number 8 Barry Hawkins crashed out to in-form Jack Lisowski won won 6-2. Lisowski is in a fine run of form and beat Judd Trump to reach the English Open quarter-finals just a fortnight ago.
INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – SECOND ROUND DRAW
Mark Selby vs Tom Ford
Ryan Day vs Mark Williams
Joe Perry vs Robbie Williams
Matthew Selt vs Neil Robertson
Shaun Murphy vs Zhang Yong
Ali Carter vs Stephen Maguire
Martin Gould vs Kyren Wilson
Robert Milkins vs Oliver Lines
Judd Trump vs Jimmy Robertson
Liang Wenbo vs Li Hang
Mark King vs Mark Allen
Martin O’Donnell vs Akani Songsermsawad
Jack Lisowski vs Xiao Guodong
Yan Bingtao vs Ricky Walden
Mark Joyce vs Luca Brecel
Dominic Dale vs John Higgins