Ronnie O’Sullivan wasn’t anywhere near his best but a 6-3 victory in Thursday’s qualifying round ensured he’ll be competing at the 2014 International Championship in Chengdu.
The ‘Rocket’ hasn’t played a lot since his dramatic defeat to Mark Selby in the World Championship final back in May.
O’Sullivan returned in August for the Paul Hunter Classic, where he reached the fourth round, before subsequently exiting the Shanghai Masters at the opening hurdle.
It will likely take the 38 year-old some time to find his feet again but he’ll be keen to perform well in this lucrative event and the majority of the rest of the field left in the draw will be anxious that O’Sullivan’s name is still there.
The five-time world champion could benefit from the shock first round defeats for world champion Mark Selby and defending champion Ding Junhui.
However, there still remains a high-quality line-up and all of the other big names safely made it through to what will be the third ranking event of the campaign in China.
Elsewhere on the final day’s action, 2013 runner-up Marco Fu whitewashed amateur Shane Castle 6-0 while 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy’s tie was equally one-sided as he recorded a 6-1 scoreline over Allan Taylor.
Mark Allen, finalist in Shanghai recently and champion of the Paul Hunter Classic in Furth, was made to work harder, though, as he came from 2-0 down to unheralded Nico Elton to eventually prevail 6-4.
That was the same margin that Six Red world champion Stephen Maguire boasted in his victory over Chinese competitor Liu Chuang.
But there was some success for the home faithful as Xiao Guodong and Yu Delu overcame Alexander Ursenbacher and Brandon Sargeant respectively.
Meanwhile, Dubliner Fergal O’Brien produced a brilliant performance to hammer Scotland’s Fraser Patrick 6-0 at the Metrodome.
A quarter-finalist in Shanghai a couple of weeks ago, O’Brien was in a heavy scoring mood as he compiled runs of 91, 77, 75, 65, 62, 48 and 46 to completely overwhelm his opponent, who scored only 54 points in the contest.
Thais Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Noppon Saengkham had 6-4 wins to advance to the tournament proper while Englishmen Robert Milkins, David Gilbert, Rod Lawler, Barry Pinches and Liam Highfield also progressed.
Finally, Scottish amateur Eden Sharav took the most notable scalp of the last day as he ousted Gerard Greene 6-4.