Neil Robertson has a chance to make it a hat-trick of UK Championship successes after easing to a 6-1 win over Rod Lawler.
The Australian, who won the tournament in 2013 and 2015, made three breaks of over 100 in a row as he kept his hopes of qualifying for the Masters alive.
"I played really well and to make three centuries in a row in front of a good crowd was a nice feeling," said the 35-year-old.
Meanwhile, Jimmy White caused a major upset by beating Ali Carter 6-2 in the first round in York.
The 55-year-old, who won the UK Championship in 1992 and was also a beaten finalist in 1987 and 1991, lost two of the first three frames but then hit his stride, reeling off five frames in a row.
Afterwards he said: "Ali is a top player. The first few frames were scrappy but from 4-2 up I played well. If there's one thing I still know, it's how to win.
"I know I can do it, because I still do it in the odd match here and there. The big tournaments are the ones you really want to excel in."
Northern Ireland Open champion Mark Williams thrashed Paul Davison 6-0 and Michael Holt hit back from 5-3 down to edge out Niu Zhuang 6-5.
Three-time UK finalist Ken Doherty triumphed against Gary Wilson 6-3 while Liang Wenbo saw off Sanderson Lam 6-1.
Robertson is 1212/1 to win the UK Championship outright, while Ronnie O'Sullivan can be backed at 1/3, Judd Trump at 1212/1 and Mark Selby at 1212/1.
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