There weren’t any upsets of note on day three of the Northern Ireland Open as the top players moved forward to the last 32 at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.
Defending champion Judd Trump compiled breaks of 125, 90, 76, and 64 to comfortably dispatch of the challenge of Zhang Anda.
Trump has enjoyed an incredible twelve months since triumphing in this event last year, winning five titles including the World Championship and the Masters.
Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby, and Mark Allen are all still in the hunt for the £70,000 top prize too.
O’Sullivan averaged less the 14 seconds per shot but did rediscover his scoring boots to overcome Lei Peifan.
The “Rocket” tallied runs of 101, 95, 84, and 54 to beat the Chinese in a high-scoring encounter.
Selby, meanwhile, maintained his unlikely quest for the £1 million pound bonus on offer for capturing all four Home Nations crowns.
The English Open champion lost the opening frame before reeling off the next four to beat Matthew Stevens 4-1.
For Allen, the home favourite thumped Jamie O’Neill to reach the third round at his local tournament for the first time since 2016.
Several other marquee names also progressed to Thursday, when the next two rounds will take place and the final eight contenders will be determined by the end of the day’s play.
Stuart Bingham, who constructed his sixth career maximum on Tuesday, didn’t score as heavily but had more than enough in reserve to defeat Northern Ireland’s own Jordan Brown.
Shaun Murphy finally surrendered a frame to Luo Honghao – the player he famously whitewashed 10-0 at the Crucible this year – but still managed an easy 4-1 success over the young Chinese cueist.
John Higgins went through by the same margin at Kacper Filipiak’s expense while World Cup winning partner Stephen Maguire continued to put his recent injury concerns behind him with a 4-2 triumph against Mark Davis.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Kyren Wilson, Barry Hawkins, Ricky Walden, Ali Carter, Luca Brecel, and Joe Perry.
Riga Masters champion Yan Bingtao, who was the runner-up at the Waterfront Hall in 2017, accounted for Marco Fu while former world champion Graeme Dott beat Craig Steadman.
Veteran Irish duo Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien enjoyed another good day on the baize with the Dubliners ousting Soheil Vahedi and Jimmy Robertson respectively.
Among some of the others to reach the last 32 were Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Anthony Hamilton, Alexander Ursenbacher, and Yuan Sijun.