Marco Fu 4-2 Mark Williams
John Higgins 4-2 Ben Woollaston
Mark Allen 4-1 Fergal O'Brien
Joe Perry 4-1 David Gilbert
Ronnie O'Sullivan 3-4 Yu De Lu
Anthony Hamilton 3-4 Gerard Greene
Barry Hawkins 4-3 Ryan Day
Shaun Murphy 0-4 Judd Trump
John Higgins reached his third successive ranking event quarter-final after rolling back the years in a 4-2 triumph over Ben Woollaston.
Higgins’ highest-break of 56 won’t leave his fellow competitors trembling in their boots but the result has done wonders for his self confidence.
Per WorldSnooker, Higgins noted:
I'm feeling ten times better with my game, even if I do lose I'm feeling better and that's the main thing.
I got the bits of luck and Ben got a few kicks at crucial moments, but that's what happens in these best of sevens.
Marco Fu awaits in the quarters and the chinaman has been one of world snooker’s most consistent performers of late.
He proved it again today in Preston dispatching Mark Williams with ease.
Breaks of 79, 57, 82 and 60 were peppered with trademark long-pots, and a sublime cueing action that was almost poetic in it's execution.
Mark Allen was even more impressive during his win against practice partner Fergal O’Brien. Despite going behind in the first frame of the match, a quick fire 113 break soon restored parity.
A see-saw third frame could’ve gone with way until Allen took the initiative with a fine long pink to set him up for the 54 which eventually took him clear.
75 and 66 breaks followed in what became an decent afternoon’s work. Allen told World Snooker after the win:
It's never easy against Fergal, I practise with him and he gives every shot the same concentration.
He gives nothing away and I knew he would make it tough for me. I felt a bit edgy at the start but I'm happy with the way I played.
Poor old David Gilbert was never in the game against an effervescent Joe Perry. The latter is enjoying his best season for a while and breaks of 98, 128, 53 and 61 were indicative of Perry’s dominance throughout.
Surprise result of the night has to be Ronnie O’Sullivan’s first defeat of the year to Yu De Lu. World number 48 Lu took the initiative after O’Sullivan looked to have done enough with a first frame 64 break.
Taking the frame via a clearance from the final red, he was a final pink away from making it 2-0. It was always going to be a difficult pot but Lu had no choice but to take it on.
At one apiece, the crowd might have expected the Romford-based O’Sullivan to surge ahead.
Instead Lu took out a 102, before a stunning 140 break from O’Sullivan, the highest of the tournament so far, had the crowd on their feet.
Both players traded blows and frames to level things at 3-3 before Lu took advantage of O'Sullivan's poor shot on the centre red to take the match.
Judd Trump was never troubled in his game with Shaun Murphy and noted his chances of success against Perry in the next round, and in the tournament generally, with O'Sullivan now dispatched, per World Snooker:
My safety was good and my positional play was the best it's been for a while.
When Ronnie goes out, everyone perks up a bit and thinks they have a better chance of winning, but I've got a tough game next against Joe, he has beaten me the last couple of times we've played so he's favourite.
The final game of the day between Barry Hawkins and Ryan Day didn't conclude until the early hours of Friday morning, but it was well worth the wait for those that hung around.
Early blows were traded, with some rapid point scoring keeping the tiring crowd enthralled. At 2-2, the match really was anyone's.
A tense fifth frame saw both players edge toward the breakthrough that would give then the advantage in the game, with Hawkins just doing enough.
Day came straight back again rattling off a 38 break. Two visits to the table from Hawkins still left him behind Day and the latter didn't need a second invitation to take the match into a deciding frame.
Both seemed intent on safety in the early stages, but neither keen to take a risk, knowing the same could be fatal for their chance of progression.
Day again took the initiative, crafting some early points, but Hawkins put the squeeze on with some incisive visits to the table.
He got to within three points at 34-37 before Day edged ahead again. On 42 points with 22 left on the table, the match was there for the taking but an awkward attempt at safety let Hawkins back in to steal the match with a 22 break of his own.
Just eight players remain to slug it out in what is sure to be an exciting last few days of the tournament.