The Second Round action commences at the 2018 UK Championship in York on Saturday with four former UK Champions stepping up their latest title quests.
Round One produced a number of notable scalps, none more so than world number one Mark Selby – who bowed out at the hands of amateur James Cahill, while Shaun Murphy, Ryan Day, Liang Wenbo and Anthony McGill also crashed out.
Following a break in play on Friday to allow the television set to be assembled, the prestigious Triple Crown tournament resumes with two action-packed sessions.
John Higgins survived a major scare against Dechawat Poomjaeng in his opener before coming through a last-frame decider, and the three-time UK Champion faces another tough test against fellow Scotsman Alan McManus.
Higgins claimed this title for the first time 20 years ago, repeating the feat in 2000 and 2010, but has struggled to break down McManus in recent years, losing three of their last four meetings, including two Crucible clashes.
McManus, a three-time UK Championship semi-finalist, thrashed Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher 6-1 in his opener but has not been beyond the Last 32 of a ranking event since last August.
Neil Robertson, winner here in 2013 and 2015, resumes his quest for a third York triumph with a clash against Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
The pair met in the Last 32 here three years ago, with Un-Nooh capturing the headlines by missing the final black for a 147 before Robertson went on to win 6-2 and eventually go on to lift the trophy.
Un-Nooh, one of the fastest players on the circuit, dispatched 1992 UK Champion Jimmy White 6-3 in Round One, while Robertson safely overcame Wales’ Kishan Hirani 6-2.
Reigning World Champion Mark Williams, winner of this title in 1999 and 2002, aims to knock out his Welsh compatriot Daniel Wells – who has failed to progress beyond the Second Round stage in five previous attempts.
Riga Masters finalist Jack Lisowski, who has stormed to the verge of the world’s top 16 after an explosive start to the season, looks to continue his clinical run of form when he faces Mei Xi Wen – who edged out Fergal O’Brien 6-5 in Round One.
Stephen Maguire, who famously lifted this trophy back in 2004, will be braced for a tricky test from fellow Scotsman Scott Donaldson – semi-finalist in this year’s Paul Hunter Classic.
Among the evening’s stand-out fixtures sees former Players Championship Grand Finals winner Joe Perry take on 2016 Riga Masters finalist Michael Holt.
Masters finalist Kyren Wilson, winner of two titles this season, aims to overcome vastly experienced Teessider Mike Dunn – a former China Open semi-finalist.
Stuart Bingham, the 2015 World Champion, missed out on last year’s UK Championship due to a suspension but hit the ground running upon his return as he whitewashed James Wattana 6-0.
Bingham now faces Norway’s Kurt Maflin, who saw off Zhang Anda 6-3 earlier in the week.
James Cahill’s reward for his sensational scalp of Selby is a show-down with Thai star Sunny Akani – who enjoyed a memorable run to the Last 16 here 12 months ago, defeating Fergal O’Brien, Michael Holt and Barry Hawkins en route before narrowly losing out to Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-5.
Hawkins, the number six seed, began brightly by whitewashing Jamie Clarke in Round One and will look to maintain that ruthless edge when he meets Ian Burns – who edged out Robbie Williams 6-5 in a marathon contest.
The action gets underway from 1pm GMT, with all matches to be contested over the best of 11 frames.
UK Championship 2018 Match Schedule
Saturday December 1
Zhou Yuelong v Mark Davis
Jack Lisowski v Mei Xi Wen
Tian Pengfei v Jimmy Robertson
Ben Woollaston v Xiao Guodong
Alan McManus v John Higgins
Neil Robertson v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Scott Donaldson v Stephen Maguire
Daniel Wells v Mark Williams
Mark King v Li Hang
Joe Perry v Michael Holt
Mark Joyce v Lu Ning
Tom Ford v Robert Milkins
James Cahill v Sunny Akani
Stuart Bingham v Kurt Maflin
Mike Dunn v Kyren Wilson
Ian Burns v Barry Hawkins