Ronnie O’Sullivan remained on course for a maiden European Masters title after defeating Ashley Hugill 5-2 to reach the quarter-finals on Thursday.
The Rocket was runner-up to Judd Trump in the inaugural event in 2016, while he suffered a surprise defeat against first-year pro Aaron Hill last season.
O’Sullivan hit two centuries and a further four breaks over 50 to reach his eighth quarter-final of the season.
The six-time World champion came flying out of the blocks with breaks of 141 and 96, before a brilliant 62 clearance from 49-1 down in frame four saw him snatch a 3-1 lead at the interval.
Hugill had defeated Jack Lisowski and Ali Carter to set up a first-ever showdown with the Rocket.
The world number 81 replied with 73, but O’Sullivan quickly restored his authority on proceedings; runs of 105, 52 and 58 seeing him over the line.
Next up is a showdown with Tom Ford, who had a top break of 99 as he built on his 5-0 whitewash of John Higgins with a 5-3 success over Fraser Patrick.
Meanwhile, Anthony McGill overcame Kurt Maflin 5-3 in a high-quality encounter that produced three centuries and a further four breaks over 70.
Indeed Maflin, who stunned Judd Trump on Wednesday, had magnificent contributions of 105, 103 and 111 – only for them to prove in vain as his opponent counter with 70, 72, 85 and 91.
McGill will play Liang Wenbo after the Firecracker had runs of 60, 70, 61, 76, 124 and 86 in his 5-2 win over compatriot Yuan SiJun.
Fan Zhengyi made it back-to-back ranking event quarter-finals. Having also reached the last eight of the German Masters, he reeled off five successive frames from 3-0 down to deny Yan Bingtao.
His reward is a clash with David Gilbert after he saw off Barry Hawkins (5-4) before a 5-3 win over Pang Junxu, who recovered from 4-2 down to stun Neil Robertson earlier in the day.
Elsewhere, Ryan Day hit five breaks over 50 as he saw off Sunny Akani to set up a showdown with Graeme Dott after the former Crucible king overcame Welsh Open champion Jordan Brown.
European Masters 2022 Day Four Results
Thursday February 24
Barry Hawkins 4-5 David Gilbert
Neil Robertson 4-5 Pang Junxu
Liang Wenbo 5-0 Noppon Saengkham
Ricky Walden 2-5 Yuan SiJun
Graeme Dott 5-2 Jordan Brown
Ryan Day 5-2 Sunny Akani
Yan Bingtao 3-5 Fan Zhengyi
Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-2 Ashley Hugill
David Gilbert 5-3 Pang Junxu
Tom Ford 5-3 Fraser Patrick
Liang Wenbo 5-2 Yuan SiJun
Anthony McGill 5-3 Kurt Maflin