The former world No 1, now living in Harrogate, will now face Spain’s Borja Golan, the No 9 seed who reached the last 16 after defeating Mexico’s Cesar Salazar 11-4, 11-6, 11-3.
“It’s been good to get off court with two three-love games, good for confidence building with good time spent out on the court, although not too long which is always a great bonus because it sets you up nicely,” said Willstrop.
“If you start getting dragged into matches early on that is not always a great thing.
“Playing Tom is always difficult because he’s a good player.
“But I was able to do the business at the end of each game when it mattered and it was certainly a lot tougher than the scoreline suggests.”
To watch James Willstrop talk about his second round victory and his hopes for the tournament click the PLAY button at the top of this story.
Willstrop’s partner Vanessa Atkinson – a former world No 1 on the women’s tour – is expecting the couple’s first child any day soon, but he showed few signs of being distracted by his pending fatherhood with a solid performance against his younger opponent.
Golan will, understandably, present a stern obstacle in Willstrop’s path to the last eight, although the third seed refused to even think beyond Wednesday evening.
“You just have to take every little bit of the tournament as it goes - keep to your routine, stay in good shape mentally,” added Willstrop.
“It sounds like a cliché, but you just can’t plan too far ahead because it becomes too monumental a thing then really - so you just have to stay grounded and keep everything as simple as possible.”
Elsewhere there were few surprises among the top seeds, world No 1 and defending champion Ramy Ashour seeing off fellow Egyptian Fares Dessouky 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 in just 23 minutes.
Second seed Gregory Gaultier, from France, had little trouble reaching the next stage, beating Australian qualifier Matthew Karwalski 11-9, 11-3, 11-5.