David Morris withheld a spirited fight back from Mark Joyce to march into the final qualifying round of the Shanghai Masters with a 5-4 victory in Barnsley on Saturday.
The Irishman opened the contest with a nice break of 83 but the duel became a scrappy affair thereafter, with breaks above 30 at a premium.
Morris seemed to have the upper hand as he slowly opened up a 4-2 advantage but his English opponent fought hard to force a decider.
Yet, Morris wasn’t to be denied and a 52 break in the ninth frame helped the Kilkenny cueist into round four at the Metrodome, where he’ll face Jamie Jones for a trip to China.
There was disappointment, though, for Morris’s countrymen Ken Doherty and Leo Fernandez as both fell at the penultimate hurdle.
Amateur Fernandez almost took Tom Ford to a deciding frame, which would have been the former’s third in a row this week, but was eventually beaten 5-3 by the Riga Open runner-up.
Doherty’s fate was more straight-forward as he suffered a poor 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Liam Highfield.
It was a busy day at the Metrodome with 16 competitors in total advancing to the last stage.
Northern Ireland’s Joe Swail withstood Hossein Vafaei Ayouri’s late charge to just about pip the Iranian 5-4 while compatriot Gerard Greene edged Dechawat Poomjaeng 5-3.
China’s Tian Pengfei moved a step closer to a trip back home with an impressive 5-0 hammering of Matthew Stevens, completed with a 114 in the last frame, and Li Hang joined him by comfortably beating Gareth Allen 5-1.
But Cao Yupeng, Zhang Anda and Lu Ning exited the tournament after respective defeats at the hands of David Grace, Andrew Higginson and Rory McLeod.
Elsewhere, 23 year-old Kyren Wilson continued his strong week with a 5-3 triumph over veteran Mark King, while another young star in Luca Brecel denied David Gilbert by the same margin – the Belgian’s reward a date with Fergal O’Brien on Sunday.
Finally, English duo Mike Dunn and Jamie Cope were joined by Scot Jamie Burnett and Welshman Dominic Dale – the 2007 champion.