Ronnie O’Sullivan survived a scare before edging out Robert Milkins 6-5 to book his place in the UK Championship quarter-finals.
The Rocket remained on course to land a record-extending eighth title at the York Barbican Centre, but was forced to come through a deciding frame on Thursday in order to do so.
O’Sullivan had won nine of his 10 previous meetings with Milkins, albeit the latter’s sole victory came at the inaugural Shoot Out in 2011.
But the Milkman, who was aiming to reach his first UK quarter-final since 2002, won the first two frames with a top run of 63 along the way.
However, O’Sullivan responded with breaks of 86, 53 and 142 as he reeled off the next four frames.
Milkins stopped the rot with 91, but the seven-time champion moved to the brink of victory with an 83.
The reigning Welsh Open champion stayed alive with a timely 120 and took a tense 10th frame to force a decider, in which he had the first opportunities to get over the line.
But he could not capitalise and was punished as O’Sullivan eventually scraped through to a 140th ranking quarter-final by the skin of his teeth.
Next up for the Rocket is a meeting with Zhou Yuelong, who beat John Higgins in the last 16 of this event for the second time in four years.
The Chinese was a 6-2 winner when he met the three-time champion at this stage in 2020, and breaks of 86, 65, 63 and 52 were enough to seal a 6-3 success this time around.
Hossein Vafaei was in fine scoring form as he broke new ground by reaching his maiden UK Championship quarter-final.
The Prince of Persia hit breaks of 133, 132, 121 and 94 on the way to a comprehensive 6-1 rout of Matthew Selt.
His reward is a showdown with Zhang Anda, who continued his wonderful season by inflicting a 6-4 defeat on reigning World champion Luca Brecel.
The recently crowned International Championship winner opened with 84, before runs of 51, 78 and 54 put him 4-2 to the good.
Brecel responded with 54 and 53 to level, but further contributions of 124 and 68 saw Zhang home.
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UK Championship 2023 Day Six Results
Thursday November 30
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-5 Robert Milkins
John Higgins 3-6 Zhou Yuelong
Hossein Vafaei 6-1 Matthew Selt
Zhang Anda 6-4 Luca Brecel