Stephen Maguire brought Ronnie O'Sullivan's 14-match unbeaten run to an end with a resounding 6-1 defeat in the British Open semi-finals at Brighton last night.
Maguire, the reigning European Open champion, opened the match with two centuries to add to the three hundred breaks he had made in finishing off Anthony Hamilton in the previous round, becoming the first ever player to compile five consecutive century breaks.
It was an astonishing performance which left O'Sullivan leading the applause.
"I've never seen anything like that on a snooker table before," said the world number one, who opened the season by winning the Totesport Grand Prix in Preston last month.
"Stephen Hendry and John Higgins are the best players I've seen but Stephen seems to have a little bit more.
"He has flair and that natural cue action where he can make things happen. He's a great player, probably the best in the world at the moment.
"When someone is playing like that you're under pressure. You know you have to play well and make something happen.
"At Preston, people didn't play like that against me and I was able to win matches but he's a special talent. Nobody would have beaten him.
"As a snooker fan as well as a player, it's good to see someone like Stephen come along. His mum and dad have someone to be proud of."
Maguire, 23, beat highly rated Australian Neil Robertson in the first round before knocking out reigning UK champion Matthew Stevens, talented Chinese teenager Ding Jun Hui and Hamilton.
Runs of 101 and 134 brought him his 2-0 lead over O'Sullivan and he won the third frame on the pink after O'Sullivan had missed the yellow.
O'Sullivan, successful in all three of his previous meetings with the Scot, clinched the fourth with a break of 51.
But he missed the green in the fifth with a chance to force a re-spotted black, and Maguire took advantage before making it 5-1 with a run of 71.
And another run of 71 brought him over the winning line and into his second major final.
"I was nervous at the start because it's quite daunting when you walk out and they're all cheering for Ronnie, but when I got in the balls I felt at ease," said Maguire.
"Winning the European Open has helped me a lot. I've got that inner confidence now. I always thought I had it but it's a different feeling when you know you can do it."
The defeat means that O'Sullivan's friend and mentor, six-times former world champion Ray Reardon, cannot now pick up his £15,000 from a £100 stake at 150/1 that 'the Rocket' would win all of this season's eight world ranking titles.