Judd Trump endured a forgettable afternoon at London's Alexandra Palace as he departed the Masters with a strangely listless display in slumping to a 6-1 defeat to Graeme Dott in the last eight.
Scotsman Dott - world champion in 2006 - was not at his best but never had to be as Trump failed to live up to his billing as the pre-tournament favourite.
It is hard to believe Dott was questioning his long-term future in the sport before losing 4-3 to Mark Selby in the final of an event in Munich last week.
He suddenly finds himself catapulted into a semi-final against Selby or Mark Williams on Saturday evening.
"I think we were both struggling at the start," said Dott.
"It didn't really feel like a 6-1 win. You turn up at the match expecting him to knock everything in, but when they don't play that well, it can actually put you off.
"It put me off because I then thought to myself I must take advantage of this and it puts you under pressure.
"I'm trying to find form at this tournament which is an unusual thing. I felt like I was cueing pretty badly. I made better breaks in beating Stephen (Maguire) in the first round, but I was hitting the white better today. "
Dott compared Trump to world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, but feels the Bristol player should abandon his safety approach and return to the style that helped him reach the World Championship final against John Higgins in 2011 - a match he lost 18-15.
"It was always going to be tough for Judd to live up to his performance at the World Championship," commented Dott. "The way he played at that tournament was unbelievable. I think he should maybe start going for everything because that seems to be his natural game.
"He will win a lot of tournaments if he adopts that style. If it wasn't for John Higgins, he would have won the world title playing that way. "Only John would have beaten him that year."
Dott appears in the Masters last four for the first time in 11 attempts.
It said enough about the quality of the fare on offer that Dott established a 4-1 lead by compiling a highest break of only 36.
He made 54 in moving 5-1 clear with Trump's best of the match a modest 47 in collecting the third frame.
Trump lost 6-5 to world number 50 Mark Joyce in the first round of the UK Championship and must now respond to this loss.
"It is such a long season," said Trump. "I played well up until the UK Championship, but I have played badly today. These results are going to happen over such a long season, but it is just disappointing to come in the big tournaments.
"By the time I get home, I'll already have forgotten about this defeat. You just have to congratulate Graeme. He did his best today, and conditions were the same for both players.
He added: "I don't think Neil (Robertson) is a strong favourite for the tournament. Everybody left in has a great chance."
Dott moved into a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval despite doing little of note as Trump endured a torrid time in missing chance after chance.
The Scotsman claimed an error-strewn opening frame before doing just enough to scramble over the line in the second frame.
Trump managed to unearth the snooker he needed on the brown, but Dott would drive home a brilliant long brown to rectify the situation.
Dott later escaped from a snooker on the pink to deprive Trump of an unlikely steal before holing the final pink to move two frames clear.
Trump compiled 47 and a 36 to win the third frame, but looked far from in the mood to replicate the form that saw him usurp Barry Hawkins 6-5 in the first round as Dott went further and further ahead.
Trump's afternoon continued unravelling. Dott missed a red due to a horrendous kick on 54, but was not punished as the Scot returned to the table to leave himself one frame from the winning line.
The end came moments later as Dott made his highest break of the match with a 111 run in the final frame of an otherwise wretched encounter.