Ireland’s David Morris held off a stern challenge from Gary Wilson of England to progress to the last 32 of the Wuxi Classic in China yesterday.
The Kilkenny cueist was never behind but needed the final pink in the decider to secure a tight 5-4 victory.
With the help of breaks of 138 and 91, 24 year-old Morris opened up a two frame cushion at 4-2 and looked good for a more comfortable win.
But Wilson dug deep and having forced a decider took the initiative before Morris cleared to the pink to head to the second round, where he will play Northern Ireland’s Gerard Greene.
It has been a positive start to the new campaign for Morris, who spent last season on the Irish amateur scene having fallen off the Main Tour in 2012.
By reaching the last 32, he matches his previous best performance in a ranking event which came back at the World Open in 2010 – and with the amount of tons he is producing so far this season it would not be a surprise to see his scoring power take him even further.
Elsewhere, there was a brace of shocks to add to Jimmy White’s surprise victory over defending champion Ricky Walden the previous day.
Judd Trump went down 5-2 to a funny hair-styled Li Hang while Mark Allen was pipped 5-4 by old campaigner Peter Lines.
In truth, both men will probably be content enough to go straight back home and relax for a further couple of weeks before the real slog of the long season commences.
But that is not to take away from the two victors, especially the Chinese who adds to a decent number from the home contingent who are still in the tournament.
Xiao Guodong beat Peter Ebdon and Liang Wenbo edged Jamie Jones in a couple of tight clashes to ensure that there are six Chinese left in the draw as well as Hong Kong’s Marco Fu.
There were comfortable victories last night in the final session for John Higgins, Matthew Stevens and Ali Carter while World Championship runner-up Barry Hawkins overcame Fergal O’Brien 5-3 despite the Dubliner compiling a pair of century breaks.
Jack Lisowski and Robert Milkins enjoyed whitewash triumphs while Mark Williams show signs of returning to form in pipping an improving Liam Highfield 5-4 in a high-quality contest.
Today, the field will be whittled down to 16 with the Welshman’s encounter with Lisowski and the Whirlwind’s repeat with Milkins the ties most will have their eyes on.
Stevens and Liang’s battle will be interesting also while 15 year-old prodigy Lu Haotian takes on twice Crucible finalist Carter.
To view the draw and results click here.