Other than defending champion Ding Junhui’s early exit, the top seeds were in fine fettle on day two of the German Masters in Berlin on Thursday.
A mixture of the conclusion of the first round and the beginning of the last 16 took place in a busy second day schedule yesterday.
Eight matches were still to be completed from the last 32 and, China’s Ding aside, all of the top stars advanced without too many problems.
Ronnie O’Sullivan returned to the Tempodrom for the first time in three years, the scene of the triumph that arguably reignited his career as he went on to capture a flurry of major titles in the ensuing campaigns.
And the Englishman, seeking to regain the world no.1 spot in the rankings for the first time in years this week, didn’t disappoint his legion of fans as he produced a competent display to overcome Mark Davis 5-1.
Masters champion Shaun Murphy recorded a similar scoreline over Michael Wasley while Joe Perry went one better, failing to concede a single frame in his rout of Jimmy Robertson.
In a much expected of encounter between Marks Allen and Williams following their epic in Chengdu, the Northern Irishman once again came out on top with a 5-2 victory, while Liang Wenbo beat countryman Li Hang 5-1 in an all-Chinese affair.
However, the performances of the day came later when round two got under way.
Neil Robertson, who might have been forgiven for having a hangover following his crushing loss in the final at Alexandra Palace in January, continued his domination of opponents with a second successive whitewash – on this occasion over Xiao Guodong.
Yet, the highest scoring of the day came from the Australian’s next challenger, with 2012 runner-up Stephen Maguire knocking in breaks of 107, 119, 49, 74 and 73 en route to a 5-2 victory over Mark King.
Indeed, the punishing 73 clearance to the black came after King himself had made a 72 break while on for a maximum only to break down just before the frame was safe.
Scotland’s Maguire and Judd Trump had been my pre-tournament favourites for glory come Sunday evening and the latter ensured that the pair remain on course for a last four contest after a 5-1 success over Martin Gould.
Trump has an equally tricky task in the quarter-finals, though, as he faces world champion Mark Selby, who ousted Peter Ebdon will a 5-1 scoreline as well.
Friday has the players completing the second round and also the last eight, meaning a potentially very taxing day for those who are forced to compete in two consecutive matches.
This could favour the bottom half of the draw, who have been afforded the luxury of only one tie each day during this frenetic, but brilliant, tournament.
The fact that so many of the bigger names are performing so well is testament to how much they want to emerge victorious in front of the 2500-strong enthusiastic German crowd this weekend.
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