Mark Selby and Ding Junhui suffered shock defeats in their opening matches of this year’s Masters in London.
Ali Carter was a replacement for Ronnie O’Sullivan, who chose not to play in the tournament, and led 3-1 before falling 4-3 behind.
But he won three frames in a row to claim a 6-3 victory to eliminate three-time champion Selby.
Ding arrived at the tournament having won the UK Championship in York last month but was beaten 6-3 by Joe Perry.
The Chinese player hit a 135 break in frame two but he was never ahead.
Englishman Perry, the world number 16 who reached the final of this event in 2017, was too consistent and breaks of 71, 93 and 83 secured victory.
Perry was the rank outsider coming into the Masters, but he was inspired by returning to Alexandra Palace for the first time since that appearance in the final when he lost 10-7.
The first four frames were shared but the 45-year-old found his game after the interval with more fluent break-building.
He will now play either Shaun Murphy or world number one and defending champion Judd Trump in the quarter-finals.
“It feels like a long time since that final,” said Perry. “But I was just so pleased to get back in the top 16. I’m 45 now and it’s getting harder. These young players are so good.
“So I just tried to make the most of it and enjoy it, and I really did.”
Ding won the Masters in 2011 but his fortunes in the event have dipped since then as he has won just three of his last 12 matches.
Meanwhile, snooker’s commercial arm the World Snooker Tour (WST) says it will match Neil Robertson’s contribution to the Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation amid the ongoing bushfire crisis in the country.
Australian Robertson says he will donate £100 for each century made by all players at this year’s Masters, as well as contributing an additional £5,000.