Mark Allen came from 3-0 down to eventually scrape past amateur Sydney Wilson in the first round of the Welsh Open on Thursday.
Despite claiming a brace of European Tour events this season, Allen has actually had a rather indifferent campaign and it looked like his poor form in main ranking events was about to continue.
Wilson took two scrappy openers before appearing to grow in confidence with a 53 in the third to open up a commanding lead.
It looked as though he was on the verge of a famous victory when on a break of 54 in the fourth frame but he fumbled when within only a few pots of success and his experienced opponent pounced.
The Northern Irishman immediately sensed his opportunity and stepped up his game with breaks of 45 and 55 to force a decider in double-quick time.
A rattled Wilson didn’t even get an opportunity in the last as 27 year-old Allen knocked in a cool 112 to complete the turnaround.
It has been clear for a while now that Allen could do with a decent run in a ranker, especially with the defence of his World Open crown on the horizon, and a victory of this nature could be just what he needs to ignite a serious challenge in Newport.
Elsewhere, Ireland’s Ken Doherty maintained what has been a positive couple of weeks for Irish snooker as he secured a 4-0 rout over James Cahill.
The 1997 world champion looked in good form too as breaks of 66, 85 and 111 helped him advance to the last 64.
On an another day of few shocks, former champions Mark Selby and John Higgins enjoyed whitewash wins over veterans Joe Swail and Tony Drago respectively, while Englishmen Ricky Walden, Martin Gould, Tom Ford and Matthew Selt also had easy routes to the second round.
Shoot-Out champion Dominic Dale survived a scare before coming from behind against Amateur Antony Parsons to prevail in a 4-3 thriller.
However, former world champion Peter Ebdon was dumped out in emphatic fashion after a surprising 4-0 defeat to China’s lowly ranked Li Hang.
Young talent Jack Lisowski, a player widely tipped to achieve great things but who as yet has failed to deliver consistently, hammered Adam Duffy 4-0 while elder statesman Dave Harold saw off Zhang Anda for the second time in a week following a 4-2 triumph – a result shared by fellow Englishman Anthony Hamilton over Michael Leslie.
Finally, it was a good day for the Thai contingent as James Wattana, Dechawat Poomjaeng and Noppon Saengkham emerged victorious against Rod Lawler, Liam Highfield and Steve Davis respectively.
On Friday, there is an intriguing tie between Shaun Murphy and David Morris while, among others, the likes of Jimmy White, Stuart Bingham and Graeme Dott are in action.