Top seeds Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson all made it through the opening round of the World Grand Prix on day one in Llandudno.
English pair Selby and O’Sullivan overcame the challenges of Michael Holt and Rod Lawler respectively, while Australia’s Neil Robertson eased to a 4-0 whitewash win over Luca Brecel.
Most of the higher seeds advanced into the second round of this inaugural invitation event, though Mark Allen succumbed in a deciding frame thriller to Liang Wenbo and Barry Hawkins’ miserable run of form continued with a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Matthew Selt.
World no.1 Selby lost his opening frame against Holt on the black but turned the match around with breaks of 110, 95 and 68 to inflict a sixth defeat for Holt in a row – barring the Shoot-Out.
Robertson scored similarly well, tallying totals of 121, 79 and 64 over 20 year-old Belgian Brecel, and even though O’Sullivan wasn’t at his free-scoring best he still had enough in reserve to get past Lawler.
Meanwhile, Stuart Bingham appeared to be in a spot of bother when he let a 3-0 advantage over Anthony McGill slip, only to take the seventh and final frame with a 70 break.
Elsewhere, Martin Gould returned to a modicum of form after some recent health concerns to oust Alan McManus 4-1 while Stephen Maguire knocked in the highest break of the tournament so far, a 122, in recording the same scoreline success over Xiao Guodong.
A big crowd was in attendance for the first day in Wales, suggesting that the event’s location will prove to be a success as we get into the business end of the competition later this week.
With several star performers already into the last 16, there’s even more reason for the supporters to come out in their numbers.
On Tuesday, Ding Junhui, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy and man of the moment Michael White enter the fray.