Shaun Murphy made short work of Ben Woollaston at the Betway UK Championship, winning 6-2 to reach the fourth round in York.
Murphy won three titles last season, including the Masters, as well as reaching the final of the World Championship. He is yet to lift a trophy this term but looks sharp enough to regain the UK title he won in 2008.
Breaks of 83, 72, 72 and 106 today helped the world number four set up a last 16 meeting with David Gilbert or Marco Fu.
“I’m very pleased with my performance,” said Murphy. “I’ve been working hard on my game, as always, and so I’m happy to see it come out on the match table. I played an attacking game and it’s saying to your opponent ‘I’m prepared to go for my shots, are you?’
“Stephen Hendry dominated the game in the ‘90s by going for his shots, he went for some crazy shots but they went in. Even when they didn’t go in they sent out a message to his opponent.
“For me, it’s about how I feel – I’m not really bothered about how my opponent feels. I’ve always gone for my shots and I always will.”
Stephen Maguire took a huge step towards guaranteeing his place in the Masters by beating Mark Davis 6-4. The Scot goes ahead of Michael White into 15th place on the projected seedings, which means that two players would have to leapfrog Maguire to deny him a place at Alexandra Palace next month.
Breaks of 125, 127 and 60 helped Maguire build a 4-1 lead. Davis made 128 and 77 in getting back to 4-4, only for Maguire to take the last two frames with 55 and 84.
Martin Gould impressed in a 6-4 win over Mark Allen to earn a match with Joe Swail and boost his hopes of reaching the UK quarter-finals for the first time.
In a high quality contest, Allen knocked in breaks of 107, 102 and 67, while Londoner Gould compiled runs of 57, 77, 66, 59 and 98.
“It was a very good game, very attacking,” said Gould. “I played what I thought was good match-snooker today. I scored well, created some opportunities and took advantage of them.
“I’m always confident. No matter how many bad beats you get along the way you’ve just got to learn from them and come back stronger.”
Allen said: “Martin’s safety today won him the match. We both looked as though we would score if we got in but he was just creating more chances than I was. I didn’t compete at all in the safety department today and that’s definitely one area I can improve on.”
Tom Ford reached the last 16 of the UK Championship for the first time with a 6-1 win over Shanghai Masters champion Kyren Wilson.
World number 52 Ford, who was runner-up at the Riga Open earlier this season, knocked in breaks of 56, 67, 78, 70 and 65 to set up a match with Judd Trump or Liang Wenbo.