WORLD No1 Neil Robertson cruised through to the last 32 of the German Masters in Berlin with a 5-1 victory over China’s Liu Chuang.
The Australian chalked up an astonishing 78th century of the season during the win, and will now take on Tian Pengfei for a place in the last 16.
Pengfei came through 5-3 against Andrew Higginson on the already notorious ‘Table Eight’, in a separate location from the other seven in the arena and the subject of complaints earlier in the day from Tom Ford and Kurt Maflin.
Robertson claimed the last ranking title of 2013 with success at the UK Championship in York, a triumph that saw him join the exclusive ‘Triple Crown’ club of major-winners.
And with no world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the draw after a surprise qualifying exit to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, the 31-year-old is the clear favourite to lift the trophy at the Tempodrom.
John Higgins’ progress through to the next round was almost as serene as he claimed a 5-2 win over Gerrard Greene.
The four-time world champion was furious following a 6-5 loss to Mark Selby earlier this month at the Masters, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in their quarter-final.
But Scot Higgins, 38, did show signs at Alexandra Palace of a return to form after a miserable six months that saw the world No12 regularly tampering with and switching his cue.
And he will now face Wales’s Dominic Dale, already on a high after his Shootout success last weekend, for a place in the last 16.
Dale made life considerably more difficult for veteran six-time world champion Steve Davis, as the Nugget tries to save his tour place for next season.
Though not in quite as bad a situation as Jimmy White, Davis, 56, is also now facing a scramble for prize money in the remaining events of the season after a 5-2 loss.
Jack Lisowski ensured Un-Nooh’s stay in Germany was a brief one, whitewashing the Thailand player 5-0 in just 67 minutes for a morale-boosting victory.