Neil Robertson remained on course for back-to-back titles with a 6-2 win over Aditya Mehta to reach the last 32 of the Betway UK Championship.
Australia’s Robertson won the Champion of Champions earlier this month and looks in peak form as he bids to double his tally of UK titles, having lifted the trophy in 2013.
Breaks of 51, 114, 51, 93 and 120 helped him to a convincing win over India’s Mehta and set up a third round tie with Thepchaiya Un-Nooh,.
“I made some good breaks today although the conditions were tough,” said world number three Robertson. “All the top players are trying to get through to the last 16 because that’s when the tournament really starts.”
Asked for his opinion on Joe Perry’s comments last night, accusing Robbie Williams of negative tactics, Robertson added: “I can understand what Joe was saying, although I thought Robbie was just really nervous rather than deliberately trying to slow the game down. I’d like to see a 30-second shot clock which starts as soon as you pot a red. I think a lot of players would actually play better if we had that.”
Stephen Maguire’s win over Jamie Cope was even more emphatic as he knocked in runs of 60, 63 and 89 to win 6-0 within 96 minutes.
“It was one of those matches that Jamie didn’t get involved in. I still needed a couple of chances each frame though,” said Maguire, the 2004 UK Champion, who now meets Mark Davis.
“In the last three years, Mark has probably played the best snooker of his career. It’s actually a big match between us because of The Masters situation. He’s got a chance to move into the top 16. If I take care of Mark I should be safe for the Masters. It’s in my hands.
“My focus will only be on the match, everything else will take care of itself. If I lose the match and don’t end up in the Masters then it’s my own fault. What will be, will be. I feel as if I’m cueing ok. I feel like if I get in I’ll score, which is a nice feeling to have.”
World number eight Barry Hawkins described his own performance as “rubbish” after losing 6-3 to Finland’s Robin Hull.
David Grace scored what he described as the biggest win of his career by beating Robert Milkins 6-2 with a top break of 85. “It’s massive for me,” said Grace after guaranteeing £9,000, his biggest pay-day. “To beat one of the top players in a great arena in front of a big crowd is amazing.
“Every win gives me belief but when i beat a top player I feel invincible. Between this event and the Shanghai Masters (where he reached the last 16) I’ve won £17,000, and I’ve never seen money like that before.”
Welshman Jamie Jones thrashed Xiao Guodong 6-1 with a top break of 111 to set up a meeting with Mark Selby.
Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh came from 5-4 down to beat Fergal O’Brien 6-5 while Belgium’s Luca Brecel saw off Anthony McGill 6-4. In the last match to finish, Peter Ebdon beat Dominic Dale 6-5 at 1.30am, making a winning 54 clearance in the decider.