Mark Williams survived a huge scare against Liam Highfield before eventually prevailing 6-5 in a nail-biting decider to book a quarter-final date with Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Quarter-Finals of the UK Championship at the York Barbican Centre.
The two-time UK champion came through a real seesaw battle with the Stoke cueist, who was celebrating his 26th birthday on Thursday, as he recovered from 5-4 down to advance to the Last Eight.
After the first two frames were shared, a break of 70 put Williams in front but he was quickly pegged back by Highfield, who made 52 to level at 2-2 at the mid-session interval.
World number 106 Highfield went in front after a neat clearance of 80, but his opponent responded with an equally impressive 87 for 3-3.
A fluked final red saw the man from Stoke regain the advantage, but he was unlucky to knock in the yellow following a lengthy safety exchange in the next and allow the two-time world champion to square the match again.
However, Highfield, who was aiming for a first appearance in the quarter-finals of a ranking event, doubled the black over the length of the table to move to the brink of reaching unchartered territory in the following frame.
It was not to be for the 26-year-old, though, as Williams made 56 on the way to forcing a decider, which he controlled to progress.
The Welshman is joined in the quarters by John Higgins, who continued his quest for a fourth UK title with a 6-3 win over Mark Allen.
After taking a 2-0 lead, Higgins was pegged back to trail 3-2 after Allen made breaks of 78, 105 and 65, but responded with runs of 101, 68 and 90 as he reeled off four frames on the spin to set up a clash with World Champion Mark Selby on Friday.
Meanwhile, Luca Brecel reached the Last Eight in York for the second time in his career after beating former champion Stephen Maguire by the same scoreline.
Despite being pegged back to 3-3 after leading 2-0 and 3-2 as Maguire made back-to-back centuries of 101 and 112, the Belgian kept his composure by winning the next two frames, before a fluked penultimate red from a snooker paved the way to a wonderful clearance to book a date with Shaun Murphy.
Earlier in the day, Jamie Jones continued his record-breaking run in the competition with a 6-2 success over David Gilbert.
The Neath cueist raced into a 3-0 lead and, after losing the fourth frame, won three of the next four with a top run of 96 to advance.
Betway UK Championship 2016 Results
Thursday December 1
Jamie Jones 6-2 David Gilbert
John Higgins 6-3 Mark Allen
Mark Williams 6-5 Liam Highfield
Stephen Maguire 3-6 Luca Brecel