Judd Trump produced a blistering finale by hitting two centuries in a 3-0 win over Barry Hawkins that saw him reach the Championship League last eight in style.
2013 world finalist Hawkins needed only a draw after two 3-0 wins over Ryan Day and Robert Milkins respectively, but found Trump too hot to handle in the group decider at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Trump hit breaks of 124 and 110 in the opening two frames of the match and even a 62 from Hawkins in the third frame could not deny the 2019 world champion, who is chasing successive victories in ranking events following his 9-8 win over Neil Robertson in the English Open final at the same venue.
Trump is already assured of his place at the invitational Champion of Champions event next week after winning six ranking events last season, but joked: "It's nice to just try and qualify for the Champion of Champions as many times as possible. Next year I want to take every single place."
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Hawkins had caught the eye earlier on Monday as runs of 116, 67, 133 and 143 helped him win six straight frames without concession.
Trump enjoyed breaks of 53 and 72 in a 3-1 win over Milkins with a closing 80 enough to rescue a 2-2 draw with Day after his Welsh opponent had cancelled out Trump's 70 in the second frame with classy knocks of 65 and 57.
Chinese youngster Zhao Xintong joined Trump in the final group section on Friday after claiming seven points in winning Group C.
Zhao drew 2-2 with Alexander Ursenbacher in his opening match of the day, but a 3-1 win over compatriot Luo Honghao and a 3-0 success against 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham sealed his progress.
The action continues on Tuesday with European Masters winner Mark Selby facing Rory McLeod and Jamie O'Neill before concluding Group D with a match against 2006 world champion Graeme Dott.
World Championship runner-up Kyren Wilson takes on Mark King, Scott Donaldson and David Gilbert in Group F on Wednesday with four-times world champion John Higgins meeting Jamie Clarke, Martin Gould and Tom Ford in Group G on the final day of the last-32 stage on Thursday.
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The tournament concludes on Friday with the eight group winners progressing to two groups of four – ABCD and EFGH winners make up the two last-eight sections – with the winner of each group contesting the final over the best of five frames.
The prize fund is £328,000 with the tournament winner in line to collect a cheque for £33,000 and a place in the Champion of Champions if needed.
- Judd Trump 3/1
- Mark Selby 7/1
- Kyren Wilson 9/1
- John Higgins 9/1