The young Irishman has got his debut campaign on the Main Tour off to a headline-grabbing start.
Teenager Aaron Hill caused a major upset on Thursday with a 5-4 second-round victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan in the European Masters.
The 18 year-old, who gained a professional card by capturing the European Under-21 Championship title in March, underlined his pedigree with a standout success against the reigning world champion.
O’Sullivan, who received a bye in the first round after a positive coronavirus test for his scheduled opponent Daniel Wells, was playing competitively for the first time since claiming a sixth world title last month at the Crucible Theatre.
The “Rocket” began slowly, but as soon as he overturned a 3-1 mid-session deficit into a 4-3 advantage thanks to a break of 102, it seems like he had weathered the storm.
However, Hill composed himself to force a decider and an excellent run of 78 from the rookie helped him across the winning line.
There has been plenty of excitement about Hill around the Irish amateur scene for several years.
After dominating the junior ranks on the domestic front, the Cork cueist regularly reached the business end of senior Irish ranking events before adding back-to-back European Under-18 crowns to his impressive CV.
Hill will face Matthew Stevens in the third round with an opportunity to go further in what will be the first completed ranking event of the new season.
For O’Sullivan, it was perhaps karma for his brash comments during last month’s World Championship when he quipped that most of the young players in today’s game weren’t fit to be even called amateurs.
Hill admitted that those comments were in the back of his mind, telling the WST, “I said that one day I’m going to show him what I can do. I think today was the day.”
Meanwhile, it was another busy day at the Marshall Arena as the second round reached its climax.
Mark Allen produced the best performance, with the “Pistol” firing in four successive century breaks in a whitewash rout of Ken Doherty.
Reigning European Masters champion Neil Robertson contributed a pair of tons too as he outclassed Riley Parsons.
A strong field sees the likes of Mark Selby, Ding Junhui, Kyren Wilson, Shaun Murphy, Stuart Bingham, Stephen Maguire, and Barry Hawkins still among those in contention.
Somewhat in the shadow of Hill’s standout victory, another newcomer secured a remarkable triumph against a multiple former world champion.
Peter Devlin, a popular figure known for his online music videos, held off a late fight back from Mark Williams to prevail 5-4 – impressively winning the last frame with his maiden professional century break.
David Gilbert, Yan Bingtao, Anthony McGill, and Luca Brecel were some of the others to make it through.
The hectic schedule continues on Friday with both the round of 32 and the round of 16 taking place.
By the end of the day’s play, the eight quarter-finalists will be known and there will be a better idea of who might emerge with the first silverware of the 2020/21 season.