The English pair faced opponents who were not expecting to be in this year’s field.
Kyren Wilson and David Gilbert comfortably reached the last eight as the Masters got under way on Sunday behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena.
Wilson won five frames on the spin to see off the challenge of debutant Gary Wilson in the first round.
Later in the day, Gilbert repeated the 6-2 scoreline with a routine success against Joe Perry.
Both Perry and Gary Wilson were only drafted in at the last minute on the eve of the tournament after positive COVID-19 tests for Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski forced the world number one and his good friend to withdraw.
Neither, however, was able to take advantage of their surprise opportunity with the two seeded players moving forward to the quarter-finals.
Wilson and Gilbert will encounter each other on Thursday with a Masters semi-final berth on the line in Milton Keynes.
It’s been a desperate year for the latter since he embarked on a run to the same stage of this prestigious invitational twelve months ago.
Gilbert hasn’t featured at the business end of a tournament since then and his one-year ranking, based on performances this season, is outside the top 64.
David Gilbert produced the best performance of his season tonight.
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) January 10, 2021
Championship League winner Wilson, meanwhile, will be hoping to seize his slightly more welcoming chance of reaching the latter stages of a Triple Crown event, given how he was probably expecting to face rival Trump.
The Kettering cueist played quite well on Sunday, compiling a brace of century breaks including a tournament-high run of 136.
On Monday, the first-round action continues with defending champion Stuart Bingham entering the fray against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh – the first Thai player to qualify for the Masters since 1999.
Mark Williams and Shaun Murphy encounter each other in the evening battle between two former champions of the event.
This edition of the Masters, the 47th, is the first in its rich history in which proceedings aren’t being hosted in the English capital city of London.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced the tournament’s relocation to Milton Keynes, as has been the case with every competition on the calendar so far this campaign.
Live coverage is being provided by Eurosport and the BBC across Ireland and the UK, with further broadcasts also available around the world.
Click here to view the full draw (Times in CET)
Featured photo credit: WST