Ronnie O'Sullivan dealt out a hiding to old rival Mark Selby, winning their Welsh Open quarter-final 5-1 in a display of total authority.
A tight opening frame offered the fleeting promise of a long afternoon's entertainment for those in attendance in Cardiff, but after it went the way of O'Sullivan, Selby barely got another look.
The Leicester man did steal a tight fifth frame after the mid-session interval, O'Sullivan finally offering him chances, but it earned him a mere stay of execution and the final, decisive blow came soon after.
O'Sullivan took more than one bite of the cherry to finish off his dogged opponent, Selby securing the snooker he needed to keep his fading hopes alive, but after he was unlucky to go in-off the match was over.
While the beginning and the end were in the mould of past battles between two of the best players in the game, the middle section was dominated by a relentless O'Sullivan, who progresses to face Kyren Wilson.
After taking the first frame, O'Sullivan brazenly turned down the chance of a 147 break in the second, playing for pink with the reds perfectly set and a route back to the black should he have wanted it.
Still, it was a fluent a break of 142 and he followed it with sumptuous runs of 95 and 85 to complete a first-session whitewash, leaving pundits and fans falling over each other to applaud some of the best snooker you're ever likely to see.
Selby potted just five balls over the first four frames and though taking the fifth before an ironic salute to the crowd, in the end a swift and merciless kill was completed by a player with whom he's shared many a classic tussle down the years.
This was O'Sullivan reminding his younger foe that for all they have been down and dirty at times, within him lurks another gear, the like of which so few players in the history of snooker have been able to enter.
More than the heavy scoring, it was the control the 44-year-old exuded which told Selby very early on that this would likely be a mountain too steep to climb. In actual fact, he never really reached base camp.
O'Sullivan said afterwards: “(I) managed to settle and make a few breaks. Getting in 4-0 at the interval was lovely, but even at 4-0… it’s never over with Selby. He can make you work for it and draw you into the trenches. That’s why he’s such a great champion – he makes you think.
“I can play the defensive snooker, but not where it’s balls on cushions and the flow of the game’s being taken out of it. If it did get to that stage I had a plan to get them all back out in the open.
“You just have to play the game on your terms. This is how I want to play, this is how I want to win. My mission when I first started to play was to enjoy it.”
Murphy stuns Trump again
Shaun Murphy once again got the better of world champion Judd Trump as he progressed to the last four with a 5-3 victory on Friday evening.
All eyes were on Trump to continue the sparkling form he has shown all week in Cardiff but just as was the case at the Masters last month, Murphy spoilt the party with a classy display that continued his own consistent campaign.
After Murphy had edged a tight opening frame, Trump resumed normal service with a sparkling run of 126 in frame two before Murphy nosed in front again with a break of 96 in frame three.
Just as a break of 58 had looked set to allow Trump to level again in frame four, Murphy found a brilliant long blue before fluking frame ball - the final pink - to ensure he went to the interval with his two-frame advantage intact.
When Trump came out punching immediately upon the resumption, a break of 66 helping him win the fifth frame, the match appeared to be heading for a tense finish but Murphy afforded himself some breathing space when stroking in a fabulous 101 that put him 4-2 up with only three frames to play.
To his credit, Trump responded again with a break of exactly 100 - the third century of the match - but Murphy wouldn't be denied, marching over the winning line with a run of 52 in frame eight that ended Trump's resistance.
Wilson whitewashes jaded Robertson
Neil Robertson's remarkable run of form finally came to an end as he was whitewashed by a rejuvenated Kyren Wilson who reached his second semi-final in a row following an improved showing in Cheltenham last week.
For Robertson, he was bidding to reach his fourth final in three weeks having lifted the European Masters and World Grand Prix in between losing to Judd Trump in the final of the German Masters but those exertions finally caught up with him here.
The Australian had warned earlier in the week that he was running on empty and after a break of 79 allowed Wilson to ease into a 2-0 lead, the writing was already on the wall for Robertson.
2-0 soon became 4-0 thanks to a run of 67 from Wilson in frame four and the mid-session interval proved only to delay the inevitable, the Kettering potter returning from the break with a polished contribution of 63 that sealed his place in the last four and finally allowed Robertson some much-needed rest ahead of the impending Players Championship, an event he finished runner-up in last year.
Bingtao downs Higgins
John Higgins' hopes of winning a sixth Welsh Open title are over after he was beaten 5-2 by Yan Bingtao.
Having triumphed at the Riga Masters earlier in the season and reached the semi-finals of the UK Championship, Bingtao took another step up the ladder with a polished display that included breaks 66, 100, 55 and 61.
Bingtao led 3-1 after dominating the opening mini-session but Higgins will rue a missed opportunity in frame two when looking certain to level until twice missing the final pink along the bottom cushion, first into the bottom left-hand corner pocket and then into the opposite corner with his very next visit to the table.
The veteran did rally to win frames four and six and very nearly claimed the seventh frame when threatening to stage a comeback before Bingtao stepped in to close out the match and secure his place in the last four.