RONNIE O’Sullivan and Judd Trump remained on course to meet in the BetVictor Welsh Open quarter-finals in Newport after comfortable wins on Wednesday.
The Rocket raced past China’s Shanghai Masters finalist Xiao Guodong 4-1 to reach the last 16, where the world champion will next face Ricky Walden on Thursday.
And world No4 Trump, who lost to O’Sullivan in the semi-finals at the Crucible last year, beat Scotland’s Anthony McGill by the same score.
Reigning and five-time world champion O’Sullivan took a pot-shot at his rivals at the weekend, suggesting the game was in trouble if he could roll up as “a part-timer” and win the world and Masters titles.
Trump, 24, who plays John Higgins next, said: “Ronnie is in my section, I lost to him here a couple of years ago in the quarters and it was a good game.
“I saw he has had a bit of a dig at everyone else. The game is so different for him, the rest of us are playing for the money, he doesn’t need the money.
“He can relax and has no pressure of that type on him – or at least it doesn’t affect him in the same way, that’s why he is so good.
“I feel sorry for Anthony after that match, the conditions were shocking. It makes such a difference going to table two from the main table, it took all the enjoyment out of it.
“The cushions were bouncing and the table was rolling off, it was very frustrating and both of us were losing interest.
“I have had a tough draw this week so I am glad to have got through quite easily. It is about time someone came through against the older guys.”
O’Sullivan said: “The matches come thick and fast but you have to adapt, it is the same for everyone and it is nice to be playing every day now - it gives you something to focus on.
“Ricky has beaten me in the final of a ranking event and is ranked right up there now after getting to the Crucible semi-finals, so that will be a tough match.”
Stuart Bingham beat Michael Holt 4-2 and will now play Joe Perry, while Marco Fu beat Graeme Dott by the same scoreline and will now play Mark Williams.