Neil Robertson continued his quest for a unique World and UK Championship double as he fended off Andrew Higginson 9-5 to book his place in the quarter-finals of the sport’s second biggest tournament.
Australian Robertson is bidding to join a list of the sport’s elite by winning the World and UK titles in the same year.
The world number one has been in rich form at this week’s UK Championship, thumping Rory McLeod 9-1 in the opening round.
Robertson would be the first player from outside the United Kingdom to achieve the feat of lifting the World Championship and the Uk crown in the same calendar year.
Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Parrott, John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan are the only men to have held the two major trophies at the same time.
Robertson displayed the form that helped him clinch the world title in May as he raced into a 7-1 overnight lead over Higginson on Monday, but was forced to withstand some spirited play by the former Welsh Open finalist on Tuesday afternoon.
Higginson made a break of 110 to avoid a potential whitewash in the final frame of the opening session, and continued where he left off in winning the opening three frames of the day with breaks of 75, 86 and 107.
Robertson made a 57 in the next, but only after Higginson had broken down among the balls on a run of 24.
A break of 60 from Higginson saw him close to 8-5 before the world champion scrambled over the line with an effort of 77 in the 14th frame.
Robertson will face Shaun Murphy or Ryan Day in the last eight.