Donald was always in control against Italian teenager Manassero
Luke Donald brushed past Italian teenager Matteo Manassero to reach the quarter-finals of the WGC Match Play but Graeme McDowell crashed out.
England's Donald is the only UK player left after ousting 17-year-old Manassero 3&2, while Northern Ireland's McDowell lost 3&2 to Korea's YE Yang.
Matt Kuchar beat US Ryder Cup team-mate Rickie Fowler 2&1 and two-time champion Geoff Ogilvy lost 6&4 to Bubba Watson.
Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez and Germany's Martin Kaymer also won.
Jimenez was imperious in a 8&6 victory against American Ben Crane, the man who thrashed Rory McIlroy 8&7, while Ryder Cup team-mate Kaymer, his quarter-final opponent, came from two down after 12 to beat American Hunter Mahan 2&1.
Donald, who has not trailed in any of his three matches so far, marched into his first WGC Match Play quarter-final with a commanding display at the Ritz-Carlton Club in Arizona.
The 33-year-old will move to third in the world behind Lee Westwood and Kaymer, with McDowell fourth, should he win the title on Sunday.
Kaymer, meanwhile, will leapfrog Westwood to world number one if he reaches the final.
The 26-year-old German, who will next play Miguel Angel Jimenez, said: "If I can get up one more spot in the world rankings, of course I wouldn't mind it. But I think I'll have a chance the next few weeks, months, as well."
In the quarter-finals, Donald will play Ryan Moore, who beat fellow American Nick Watney on the 19th hole, while Yang will take on Kuchar and Watson will tackle fellow big-hitter JB Holmes, who beat Australian Jason Day one up.
Kaymer would become the world number one if he reaches the final
Donald birdied the first and fourth to take an early lead over Manassero, who despatched Steve Stricker and Charl Schwartzel to reach the third round.
But the 2009 British amateur champion bogeyed the fifth to go three down and another superb approach gave Donald a four-hole lead after the seventh.
The Italian, already a European Tour winner in his nine-month professional career, grabbed a hole back with a birdie at the eighth but was five down after 10.
Manassero chipped in for eagle to cling on at the 13th and the pair halved the 14th. Donald missed a long putt to win the match on 15 as Manassero made a birdie from six feet to stay alive at three down.
On the short 16th, Manassero needed to hole from 60ft to keep the match going, but he missed and Donald, secured the half in threes for overall victory.
"I just played nicely throughout the bag really," said Donald, the world number nine. "Five birdies, no bogeys - I made Matteo work for it.
"I worked hard in the off season and it's nice to see it paying off."
McDowell, who claimed the winning point against Mahan in the 2010 Ryder Cup, was never ahead against 2009 US PGA champion Yang.
He was two down after eight before clawing himself back to level at the 10th and then again at the 12th. But Yang, who overhauled Tiger Woods to clinch his sole major title, inched ahead with birdies on 14 and 15 before chipping in for another birdie to seal the match on 16.
With the forecast of high winds, there's some uncertainty whether we'd be able to play golf because of the balls moving on the greens
PGA Tour rules official Steve Carman
"He was a tough man to beat today and to be brutally honest, I was frustrated with my game all week," said McDowell.
"There are a lot of positives to take away from the week. It was my best ever performance in this tournament. Not saying much for me, but I really enjoyed the week."
Kaymer was locked in a tight tussle with Mahan and was two down with six holes left, but he scrapped back to level on the 14th before snatching the 16th and 17th.
Kuchar was always in control against Phil Mickelson's conqueror Fowler, despite the 22-year-old battling back from two down to reach the turn all square.
Fowler went through a sticky patch at the beginning of the back nine and found himself three down by the 12th. The margin was back to one down after 16 before a bogey on the next handed Kuchar the win.
The weekend schedule has been altered to cater for a forecast of strong winds, rain and even snow flurries in the desert.
Both the quarter-finals and semi-finals will now be played on Saturday, starting at 1410 GMT and 1845 GMT respectively.
The final, which is being staged over 18 holes instead of 36 holes for the first time this year, will tee off at 1915 GMT on Sunday.
"The goal is to finish the championship by Sunday night," said PGA Tour rules official Steve Carman.
"With the forecast tomorrow of high winds in the afternoon, there's some uncertainty whether we'd be able to play golf because of the balls moving on the greens."
Bubba Watson (US) bt Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) 6&4
Matt Kuchar (US) bt Rickie Fowler (US) 2&1
YE Yang (SKor) bt Graeme McDowell (NI) 3&2
Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) bt Ben Crane (US) 8&6
Luke Donald (Eng) bt Matteo Manassero (Ita) 3&2
JB Holmes (US) bt Jason Day (Aus) one up
Martin Kaymer (Ger) bt Hunter Mahan (US) 2&1
Ryan Moore (US) bt Nick Watney (US) 19th hole
Donald v Moore (1410 GMT)
Yang v Kuchar (1422 GMT)
Jimenez v Kaymer (1434 GMT)
Watson v Holmes (1446 GMT)