David Glbert produced the highest break of the Championship League so far as a sparkling 143 helped him remain undefeated to reach the last eight in Leicester.
The 2019 World Championship semi-finalist completed 3-0 wins over Chang Bingyu, Craig Steadman and Mark Joyce – who replaced Ronnie O'Sullivan in the event after the six-times world champion's late withdrawal on Monday – respectively to reach the last-eight group stage at the Morningside Arena on Friday.
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The Tamworth potter made breaks of 131 and 80 against Chang, 143 and 87 against Steadman and 68 in his victory over Joyce as he chases his first ranking event victory since turning professional in 1999.
“A great day, much better than the other day. It’s nice to find a bit of form going into the last day, I’m obviously going to have to play well if I want to win it," said Gilbert, who has lost four times in ranking finals, including an agonising 10-9 defeat to Mark Williams in the 2018 World Open final when he led 9-5.
“In these short matches, you need to start well, and I managed to knock a couple of total in the first frames, they obviously settle you down, I do take pride in the way I play, sometimes I do get a bit down on myself, it is about winning still most importantly like the other day when I wasn’t that great.
My name is in the hat for the last day, I see the trophy over there, I’d love to take it home. It’d be a great start to the season and obviously, the bonus of the Champion of Champions place too.
Cao Yupeng completed a closing 3-0 win over Matthew Selt to top Group G at the season's first tournament.
The former Scottish Open finalist compiled breaks of 72, 117 and 84 in a 3-1 victory over Barry Hawkins with knocks of 88 and 51 helping him earn a 2-2 draw with Masters champion Yan Bingtao, who ran in 104 in the third frame against Cao.
Yan recorded a 3-1 win over Hawkins, but a 2-2 draw with Selt that saw him run in 129 in the second frame saw him finish second in the table, two points behind his compatriot.
The eight winners from the stage two groups will contest two more groups of four before a final is played between the top two for the title on Friday night.
2005 world champion Shaun Murphy plays in Group E from 12pm (BST) on Tuesday alongside 2006 Crucible winner Graeme Dott and two-times world finalist Ali Carter with Northern Ireland's Gerard Greene the outsider in a tough section.

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2015 world champion Stuart Bingham is favourite to top Group F as he faces Shoot Out champion Ryan Day, Swiss number one Alexander Ursenbacher and fellow Englishman Ashley Hugill.
Tuesday 10 August
  • Group E
  • Shaun Murphy
  • Graeme Dott
  • Ali Carter
  • Gerard Greene
  • Group F
  • Stuart Bingham
  • Ryan Day
  • Alexander Ursenbacher
  • Ashley Hugill
Wednesday 11 August
  • Group D
  • Kyren Wilson
  • Matthew Stevens
  • Oliver Lines
  • Ken Doherty
  • Group C
  • David Lilley
  • Noppon Saengkham
  • Mark Davis
  • Bai Langning
Thursday 12 August
  • Group A
  • Judd Trump
  • Jimmy Robertson
  • Tom Ford
  • Stuart Carrington
  • Group B
  • Mark Allen
  • Ricky Walden
  • Peter Lines
  • Fergal O’Brien
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