Four-time world champion John Higgins was in superb form as he routed Shaun Murphy 6-0 in the last 16 of the International Championship on Wednesday.
Higgins endured a difficult 2014 but has steadily improved once again this year – highlighted by his consistent return to the winning table with victories in the Welsh and Australian Opens in 2015.
The 40 year-old will be hoping to add the International Championship to his repertoire of ranking event successes and remains on course to achieve just that after hammering fellow former Crucible champ Shaun Murphy in a whitewash.
Higgins compiled runs of 56, 74, 62, 138 and 78 as he raced into the quarter-finals in China, where the Scot will meet Joe Perry.
Perry’s triumph over Ben Woollaston was starkly different as the Players Championship winner was taken the distance by his battling opponent.
It was looking plain sailing for Perry when he led 5-2 and was within a few pots of sealing victory in the eighth frame before Woollaston, who had already emerged from a pair of deciders this week, forced another final frame shoot-out – but Perry finally scrambled over the line at the death.
In another clash featuring two world champions, the repeat of the 2010 Sheffield final was also a one-sided affair as Neil Robertson comfortably dispatched of Graeme Dott 6-1.
Robertson’s task gets a whole lot more difficult in the next round, though, as he prepares to face world no.1 Mark Selby for a place in the last four.
That said, Selby wasn’t at his very best in his 6-3 defeat of Michael White but capitalised on an abundance of errors and missed opportunities from the Welshman to do enough to advance.
While the bottom half of the draw is loaded with star credentials, the top bracket is a little more open.
Mark Allen is arguably the favourite to progress to what would be a second successive final in the tournament following his defeat to Ricky Walden in the showdown for silverware 12 months ago.
The Northern Irishman put a stop to home hopeful Tian Pengfei’s excellent run, that included knocking out the defending champion in the qualifying round, with a comprehensive 6-1 beating of the Chinese competitor.
Allen will meet Thailand’s Thephcaiya Un-Nooh on Thursday following the 30 year-old’s third 6-5 thriller on the trot – this time over teenager Zhou Yuelong to break the hearts of the adoring local crowd in Daqing.
However, 2013 runner-up Marco Fu from Hong Kong remains in the hunt for glory at the weekend and the lucrative £125,000 winner’s cheque after he ousted Jimmy Robertson 6-3.
Fu faces the challenge of David Gilbert tomorrow after the Englishman beat Ryan Day 6-4 to reach the quarter-final of a ranking event for the first time in his career.