Ronnie O’Sullivan celebrated his birthday in winning style as he cruised to the last 16 stage of the UK Championship.
The bookies favourite for the title beat Michael White 6-1 and, just like his previous games, won in convincing fashion without having to go through the gears.
O’Sullivan now stands just four wins away from winning a sixth UK Championship title and with most of the world’s top 16 already shown the door home, it would take a brave person to bet against him achieving the honour on Sunday.
His next opponent will be Thailand’s Akani Songsermsawad who produced one of the biggest shocks of the day thrashing Barry Hawkins 6-0 in what was one of the biggest wins of his career.
John Higgins earned an impressive win against teen sensation Yan Bingtao. Despite Bingtao fighting back from 3-0 down to level the scores, Higgins then won the next three frames to take the match 6-3.
UK Championship 2017 Last 16 Draw
Li Hang vs Ryan Day
Mark Joyce vs Lyu Haotian
Shaun Murphy vs Ricky Walden
Mark King vs John Higgins
Graeme Dott vs Stephen Maguire
Joe Perry vs Mark Allen
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Akani Songsermsawad
Martin Gould vs Xiao Guodong
Elsewhere, last season’s Northern Ireland Open winner Mark King upset the odds to beat Luca Brecel – one of the season’s standout performers so far – 6-3.
Meanwhile, former UK champion Shaun Murphy made sure he was a top 16 player still left in the competition after beating Jimmy Robertson by the same scoreline.
A resurgent Ricky Walden – a former World Championship semi-finalist – continued his good run of form by beating Kyren Wilson 6-2 in the evening session.