There were four deciding frame thrillers on an exciting third day at the Australian Goldfields Open on Wednesday.
Defending champion Judd Trump was one of only two victorious players to avoid going all the way as he became the first name to feature in the quarter-final in Bendigo.
Stephen Maguire joined him in the last eight while Ali Carter, Michael White, Jamie Jones and Martin Gould all won tight tussles as the first round came to a conclusion as well.
Trump had beaten close pal Jack Lisowski 5-0 on Monday and it looked as though he could have been about to romp to another whitewash win when he raced three clear of fellow Englishman Ian Burns with the help of a 111 century break.
Breaks of 85 and 51 for the latter proved that Trump’s game wasn’t infallible but the 25 year-old knocked in successive runs of 62 and 63 for another competent outing.
Trump will play Maguire for a semi-final berth after the Scot prevailed in a topsy-turvy affair with Ricky Walden.
There was never more that a frame between the two but the lead changed hands on a number of occasions before Maguire knuckled down to claim the last two frames for a 5-4 success.
Walden had earlier eclipsed the tournament’s highest break with a superb 142 total clearance but that will come as scant consolation following his premature exit from the first ranking event of the campaign.
Earlier in the day, three out of the remaining four Last 32 encounters also went the distance as a pair of Welsh and Englishmen maintained their challenge Down Under.
Before the week began, the first round draw’s eye-catching tie was always the match-up between World Championship finalist Shaun Murphy and Ali Carter.
Usually, this would be a clash reserved for the latter stages of a competition but Carter has work to do to climb back up the rankings list following his spell out of the game battling cancer.
And the ‘Captain’ got off to a flying start as he just about outscored Murphy with breaks of 114, 74 and 62 to pinch it in the ninth frame.
The 35 year-old will take on Indian Open champion Michael White next after the Wales World Cup semi-finalist won the last three frames from 3-2 down to avoid a potential banana skin with talented Iranian Hossein Vafaei Ayouri.
White enjoyed a breakthrough last season and will be hoping to continue that form this year as he pushes to break into the top 16 in the world rankings on a more consistent basis.
Elsewhere, Martin Gould withstood a spirited comeback from Marco Fu to advance with a 5-4 scoreline while Jamie Jones knocked in a 132 as he came from 4-2 down to oust Mark Davis.
The second round comes to a conclusion tomorrow with Irishman Fergal O’Brien among those in action against John Higgins.