David Morris has matched his run in last year’s UK Championship by reaching the fourth round for successive seasons in York.
The Kilkenny cueist was under a little bit of pressure to back up his superb victory over world champion Mark Selby on Saturday and he didn’t disappoint with a controlled 6-2 triumph over David Gilbert.
With no money coming off his tally from the 2012/13 campaign – the world rankings are recorded off a running two-year system – Morris’ performances at the Barbican Centre has him now approaching the top 50 in the standings.
The 26 year-old had endured a quiet campaign so far, partly due to a back injury he sustained in the gym during the summer, but many had hoped that he would rekindle the form that saw him reach the quarter-finals of the Wuxi Classic upon his successful return to the Main Tour last season.
Standing in Morris’ way of a second ranking event last eight berth will be another former UK champion in either Mark Williams or Stephen Maguire, who are due to play each other on Tuesday.
A second success over a big name would really announce Morris as a consistently dangerous competitor on the big stage.
Fellow Irishman Ken Doherty was unable to continue his mini run, though, as the three-time finalist went down 6-1 to Ricky Walden.
Doherty had chances to keep the encounter closer early on but was powerless at 4-1 down when the International Championship winner compiled consecutive century breaks of 129 and 128.
Another player on the ton trail was Judd Trump, who had tallies of 130, 129 and 104 in a high-scoring affair with Scotland’s Fraser Patrick.
Trump has begun to display the signs that his game is approaching the level that brought him UK glory back in 2011.
That year, the former world no.1 overcame Mark Allen in a scintillating final and the pair could meet again in the last 16 should the in-form Northern Irishman overcome the plucky Rod Lawler.
Elsewhere on Monday, there weren’t any shocks to write home about as the majority of the higher seeds continued to dominate.
Bulgarian and Ruhr Open champion Shaun Murphy withstood a spirited fight back from Jack Lisowski to eventually prevail 6-4 while the player he beat to win the title in 2008, Marco Fu, saw off Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng.
Having acquired some advice from a couple of his countrymen, the ‘Wizard of Wishaw’ John Higgins appears to be regaining his touch around the table and made breaks of 128, 81, 62, 59 and 52 in defeating Matthew Stevens 6-2.
Higgins is on course to what would be a mouth-watering potential tie with Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals.
First he must oust Anthony McGill, who came from 4-1 down to see off Nigel Bond in a decider.
Finally, Matthew Selt knocked in a 122 as he edged Rory McLeod 6-4 in a late finish past midnight.
The remaining last 32 clashes will take place on Tuesday with Peter Ebdon facing defending champion Neil Robertson and Ben Woollaston tackling the injured Ronnie O’Sullivan among those involved.