After all of the shocks and early exits of top players in the first three days, day four at the williamhill.com UK Championship was a much more calmer affair but we still saw some excellent snooker from the boys.
First up in the afternoon we saw the man that dispatched defending champion Judd Trump in the first round, Mark Joyce, take on this year's defeated Crucible finalist Ali Carter. Unfortunately for the Walsall qualifier he could not find the same form again and it was the Captain that raced in to a 4-0 lead with runs of 58, 57 and 73. Joyce pulled back to 5-2 but it was too late in the end and a 73 wrapped up the win for Carter.
In the match on table two we saw Matthew Stevens against Mark Allen's conquerer, Marco Fu. The standard of play was not as high as both had experienced in previous rounds but it was the Welshman who got the better of his opponent at the start, including a 72 to go 3-1 up. Fu pulled back to 4-4 with a break of 60 but an amazing clearance of 74 to go 5-4 ahead and a 97 in the final frame was enough to see Stevens over the line a 6-4 winner. It's the first time he has appeared in the UK quarter-finals since he won it in 2003, will history repeat itself?
Carter's opponent in the quarter-finals will be fellow Essex man Stuart Bingham who is in the form of his life at the moment, winning two Asian PTCs and the Premier League in recent months. He had a right old battle on his hands against Stephen Maguire who usually brings his best to the majors.
Frames were shared for them to go 2-2 and again twice each after that for it be level once more at 4-4. But it was Bingham who took the initiative and made a brilliant 120 break (only one of two centuries made all day) to go 5-4 up and then made two further excellent breaks of 60 and 54 in the last frame to give the Basildon Battler a 6-4 victory.
It was a much more comfortable win for Shaun Murphy on table 1 as Graeme Dott could not keep up with his opponent and he suffered a heavy 6-2 defeat at the hands of the 2008 UK champion. Murphy went 3-0 clear then 4-1 with a well made 130 break before Dott kept himself in the match with a break of 71 for 4-2. However it was too late for the Scot as Murphy won the next two close frames to make it through to the last 8 where he will play the winner of Luca Brecel and Mark King.
Here is the draw for the quarter-finals so far -
Ali Carter v Stuart Bingham
King/Brecel v Shaun Murphy
Higgins/M.Davis v Matthew Stevens
N.Robertson/Hawkins v Day/Selby