Judd Trump withstood a spirited fight back from Jimmy White to prevail 5-3 in the last 32 of the China Open in Beijing.
The UK champion raced into a 3-0 lead as his opponent failed to settled, gifting Trump two frames in the opening bout of exchanges either side of a flawless 122 clearance from the 22 year-old.
However, fan favourite White got on the scoreboard in a scrappy fourth to go into the mid-session interval with renewed hope and was clearly more composed after the break as he mounted pressure on the defending champion.
Indeed, the ‘Whirlwind’ should have reduced his arrears to a single frame in the next only to break down while in a positive position, which allowed Trump in to restore his three frame cushion.
White, though, responded with a century break of his own and a 62 gave him a commanding lead in the seventh frame.
Trump countered in an attempt to see out the match but twitched at a straight blue with deep screw on 55 and 49 year-old White cleared to pull back to 3-4.
The revival was to end there, however, and a cool 73 ensured a relieved Trump advanced into the second round.
For Trump, it will be a case of a job well done in the end despite perhaps putting himself through a little more effort than he thought would have been necessary having established an early lead.
White, in the meantime, should be pleased with his overall standard of play heading into the World Championship qualifiers in a couple of weeks.
In the other box-office match of the evening session, Chinese hero Ding Junhui produced a sterling comeback of his own to deny qualifier Ben Woollaston in front of a huge, boisterous crowd.
Englishman Woollaston surged into a 4-0 lead but faltered following the interval as Ding notched up frame after frame to force a decider, where he put the match beyond doubt with a superb 118.
Ding has been a notoriously inconsistent player in front of his legion of support in Chinese based events as he apparently struggles to deal with the pressure that comes with TV figures approaching 100 million viewers – as well as the heavy weight of expectation from sponsorship and the media in his home nation.
Yet, now his thoughts will turn to emulating Ronnie O’Sullivan, who was 4-0 down in his opening round tie at the German Masters before going on to lift the trophy on the final Sunday.
Elsewhere, Stephen Lee continued his magnificent run of form in 2012 with a 5-1 drubbing over Tom Ford having lost the opening frame.
PTC Grand Finals champion Lee has reached the quarter-finals or better in all four ranking events this year so far and will play Graeme Dott to reach that stage once again after the Scot overcame Mark King 5-2.
World number one Mark Selby had an easy time of it against wildcard Li Hang, coming through with a convincing whitewash display over the Chinese, while Stephen Maguire enjoyed a similarly easy route into the last 16 with a 5-1 triumph over Barry Hawkins.
In the last of the wildcard round encounters, Irishman Fergal O’Brien became the third professional casualty with a 5-4 loss to amateur Jin Long but Rory McLeod had no such problems following a 5-0 defeat of Zhou Yuelong.
The full draw and results for the China Open can be viewed by clicking here.