Defending champion Judd Trump and world number one Mark Selby both scored heavily as they emerged from their opening bouts unscathed at the China Open on Monday.
Both Englishman had their qualifying round matches held over to the venue stages and each managed to compile a hat-trick of centuries in their respective victories over Jason Weston and Adam Stefanow.
However, while the in-form Trump romped to a comprehensive 5-0 drubbing of Weston, Stefanow gave Selby a stern test before finally succumbing to a barrage of heavy scoring from the world champion in a 5-3 loss.
Home favourites Ding and Liang Wenbo similarly advanced, the latter with a comfortably whitewash win over Itaro Santos.
Ding found himself a frame down to Sean O’Sullivan before he even took to the baize after some logo issues prevented him from beginning the encounter at the scheduled time, resulting in a docked frame.
However, he finally appeared to the delight of the crowd and, despite then falling 2-0 adrift, Ding recovered strongly for a 5-3 success of his own.
In the first round proper, Shaun Murphy and Michael White were also in a scoring mood as they each constructed a trio of century breaks as well to reach the last 32.
Meanwhile, Mark Williams kept his slim hopes of securing an automatic berth for the World Championship alive with a 5-1 triumph over Zhang Anda.
The Welshman needs to capture the trophy this week along with the £85,000 winner’s cheque in order to move back into the top 16 in the world rankings and avoid having to qualify for the Crucible.
For Joe Perry and Mark King, the dream of displacing Ryan Day in 16th place is over, though, as they crashed out in surprising defeats to Hossein Vafaei Ayouri and Sanderson Lam.
It means that the English duo will definitely have to go to Ponds Forge in Sheffield next month, where they’ll require three victories in order to reach the campaign’s blue riband tournament.
Elsewhere, Scotland’s Anthony McGill was another notable loser on the opening day of action in Beijing as he was downed 5-2 by Tian Pengfei on what was a decent day for the Chinese contingent.
Young talent Zhou Yuelong also impressed as he ousted Matthew Selt 5-1 to set up a potential clash with one of his heroes, Ding.
Mark Davis, Mike Dunn, Ben Woollaston, Gary Wilson, and Mark Joyce all advanced in close encounters while world number three Stuart Bingham edged Scott Donaldson 5-3.
In the wildcard round, Jimmy White secured a 5-1 defeat of amateur Li Yuan to avoid a potential banana skin.
The Whirlwind meets Michael Holt on Tuesday, where a win would go a long way in helping to secure his Main Tour place for another couple of seasons.
Day two will also see the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins enter the fray.
Coverage continues on Eurosport and Quest.
Categories: Snooker News