Judd Trump was well short of his best, but kept his hopes of a third consecutive Gibraltar Open title alive with a 4-1 win over Sanderson Lam, but John Higgins crashed out to Jimmy Robertson.
The scoreline suggested a comfortable evening for Trump, but that was not the case as he looked laboured and was fortunate to see his opponent make simple errors when well placed.
Trump came into the game having not lost a frame in his first two matches of the tournament, but he was well short of his best. But as well as being a brilliant potter and entertainer, he is a mean match-player and that came to the fore to see him over the line.
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Lam had the opening frame at his mercy, but missed a routine green and Trump pounced. The world No. 3 laid a snooker and produced an excellent clearance to pinch a frame he had no business winning.
The underdog shrugged off the loss of the first, and a gritty break towards the end of the second frame enabled him to level the contest.
The third frame was a see-saw affair, with Trump eking out a 27-point lead courtesy of a break of 52. After a safety battle, Lam potted the colours to force a re-spot on the black.
The safety play was excellent, but Lam made the first error and was punished as Trump knocked the black into the yellow pocket - albeit he had his heart in his mouth as the white stopped in the jaws of the bottom right.
As in frames one and three, Lam had an excellent chance in the fourth but he missed a simple black and a run of 42 from Trump put him one frame from victory.
The fifth frame was a microcosm of the match, as Lam had chances but failed to take them. Trump missed chances of his own, but was able to do enough to edge his way over the line.
Ricky Walden will be Trump's opponent in the round of 16 after he claimed a 4-2 win over Zhou Yuelong
Higgins came into the week in pole position to win the £150,000 European Series bonus, but his hopes of securing it are hanging in the balance after defeat to Robertson.
Mark Allen could have ended Trump's hopes, but he lost the final three frames to fall to defeat to Rob Milkins.
Higgins’ exit also leaves him precariously placed with regard to securing a place at the Tour Championship. He is sat in eighth and could be passed if results go against him.
Robertson was much the better player on the night, as he secured the win on the back of runs of 81, 77 and 114 - and he will face Ding Junhui in the last-16.
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Last year’s beaten finalist Jack Lisowski will play no further part in the tournament after slipping to a 4-1 defeat to Tom Ford who will face Kyren Wilson on Saturday.
Stuart Bingham, who beat Jimmy White earlier in the day, claimed a 4-2 win over Yuan Sijun to set up a clash with Soheil Vahedi.
Ben Woollaston, the conqueror of Ronnie O'Sullivan in round one, eased to a 4-1 win over Nigel Bond to book a meeting with Ben Hancorn who got the better of Michael White.
Watch the Gibraltar Open and other top snooker live on Eurosport and discovery+.
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