At yesterday’s halfway stage in Sheffield only two players – fourtysomethings John Higgins and Mark Williams – remained who have gone all the way to be crowned world champion.
From a starting field of 32, featuring eight former Crucible winners, the likes of Shaun Murphy, Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham all suffered early exits in this 17-day marathon.
Defending champion Mark Selby did not make it beyond the first round, losing 10-4 to Joe Perry, and five-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan crashed out 13-9 on Saturday in a feisty encounter with Ali Carter.
That match will be best remembered for a bizarre encounter in the 19th frame, when the pair exchanged words after clashing shoulders mid-frame.
It means, ahead of the quarter-finals, Higgins and Williams are the only men to have gone the distance.
And 42-year-old Higgins – who last won the tournament in 2011 – looks the man to beat after a stunning 13-1 demolition of Jack Lisowski yesterday.
In the quarter-final draw there will be a repeat of the Masters final with Mark Allen facing Kyren Wilson once again.
Wilson secured his third successive Crucible quarter-final after beating Welshman Jamie Jones 13-5.