Mark Selby qualified for the German Masters after overcoming a difficult match with David Morris in Wigan on Saturday.
The world no.1 was pushed hard by the Irishman and at 3-3 his progress to the main stages looked in doubt.
However, the defending champion made a break of 61 to go in front and controlled the eighth frame to safely get over the winning line.
Joining him on the flight to Berlin in February will be another former champion in Mark Williams after the Welshman negotiated the challenge of Li Hang by the same scoreline.
World champion Stuart Bingham also advanced, but was pushed all the way by Anthony Hamilton and only just scraped through in a decider.
Indeed, Bingham was fortunate not to lose in the penultimate frame, stealing it on the black before sealing victory in the final frame shoot-out.
Current Masters champion Shaun Murphy, who’ll be seeking to continue his reign at the Alexandra Palace in a few weeks, compiled a brace of centuries in his 5-2 victory over Lu Ning while Barry Hawkins beat Zhou Yuelong 5-3.
There was to be some joy for the Chinese contingent, though, with emerging star Zhao Xintong dispatching of Ashley Hugill – who of course shocked Australian Neil Robertson in the opening round.
Mark King continued his improved form so far this season with a come-from-behind 5-4 triumph over Anthony McGill, while Mark Joyce similarly got the better of Ross Muir in another England versus Scotland battle.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day the first round came to a conclusion amid the return of one Ronnie O’Sullivan to the baize.
The ‘Rocket’ hadn’t played a competitive match since losing to Bingham in the quarter-finals of the World Championship back in April and looked a little rusty despite a comprehensive 5-1 defeat of Pakistan’s Hamza Akbar.
The 2012 champion will probably need to improve with a stiffer test in the shape of Stuart Carrington coming up on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Fergal O’Brien edged Hossein Vafaei Ayouri in a marathon encounter that the Irishman eventually clinched on the final black in the ninth and deciding frame.
Mark Allen, Joe Swail, Peter Ebdon, Liang Wenbo, Ryan Day, Joe Perry and Matthew Stevens were among the other names to reach the second and final qualifying hurdle.
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