JUDD Trump and Shaun Murphy progressed into the last 16 of the Australian Open with wins on Wednesday in Bendigo.
The 24-year-old Trump, a former world No1, has not won a ranking title for 20 months – one of many who have had to watch on as Neil Robertson and Ding Junhui walked away with most prizes.
But current world No6 Trump, whose last success came in Chengdu in 2012, did show clear evidence of a return to form earlier this year, and knocked in two century breaks in a 5-2 victory over Rory McLeod.
And Trump, who did reach the final of the German Masters last season, will not be discouraged by a look at the bottom half of the draw as he goes looking for a fourth ranking success on his first visit to this event for three years.
There was also a whitewash 5-0 win for Shaun Murphy over Jack Lisowski in the other half of the draw, with the Magician also looking to expand his haul of silverware.
Unlike Trump world No7 Murphy has won twice this year – at the European Tour Gdynia Open, and then the World Open in China.
He knocked in breaks of 90, 103, 54 and 68 against Lisowski, who had started the campaign well in what is already a big season in his career after showing such early promise.
Murphy finds himself in the same half of the draw as top seed and home favourite Neil Robertson, but should the Australian suffer from the effects either of his run to the title in Wuxi last week, or the burden of having to perform on home soil, Murphy looks well placed to profit.
Robertson was due to play Andrew Higginson later on Wednesday – but there was also a surprise 5-2 win for Peter Ebdon over Barry Hawkins.
Ebdon, 43, saw Robertson move one clear of his nine career ranking titles on Sunday – but he may still feel there are one or two more in the locker after overcoming the consistent Hawkins.
Ebdon will now play Xiao Guodong for a place in the last eight, with Murphy taking on Mark Davis and Trump taking on Scotland’s Alan McManus.
Joe Perry could have been forgiven for not being at his absolute best after such a dramatic and emotionally draining last-frame Wuxi Classic final loss to close friend Robertson.
And McManus took advantage, edging home 5-4.
Photographs by Monique Limbos