Former world champion Peter Ebdon overcame a late Jack Lisowski rally to win 10-9 and move one victory away from a return to the Crucible in Sheffield.
In a high-scoring affair, Ebdon looked certain of a place in the final qualifying round at Ponds Forge when he opened up a 9-5 advantage, only for his opponent to fight back with four frames on the spin to force a decider.
The 2002 champion held his nerve, though, compiling a 69 in the last to see off his fellow Englishman.
Ebdon will meet Michael Holt on Judgement Day after the Riga Masters runner-up enjoyed a more routine outing against Eden Sharav, ousting the Scot with a 10-4 scoreline.
Elsewhere, Day five conjured up a few big upsets as the likes of Joe Perry and Mark Davis were sent packing.
Perry fought back from 9-6 down to force a final frame shoot-out with Akani Songsermsawad, only to lose 10-9 to the Thai at the death.
Songsermsawad, 21, wasn’t the only young international player to advance, perhaps signalling an imminent change in the guard of the sport.
Davis also left it too late despite a mini comeback as he was felled 10-7 by the talented teenager from China, Yan Bingtao.
The 17 year-old will play amateur Alexander Ursenbacher for a Crucible berth after the Swiss European under-21 champion edged Scott Donaldson in another tight decider.
Yan and Ursenbacher’s clash will guarantee that there’ll be at least one debutant in the 2017 edition of the World Championship.
Meanwhile, Yan’s countryman Zhou Yuelong won the last three frames as he held off Ian Preece for a 10-8 success.
Most of the encounters went near the full distance as the drama and pressure went up a notch with a place in Thursday’s last 32 draw coming into view.
Former quarter-finalist Jamie Jones edged Alfie Burden 10-8 while there were 10-6 glories for both Martin Gould and David Gilbert.
Hammad Miah followed up his defeat of Ricky Walden with a 10-7 win against Martin O’Donnell.
Earlier on Sunday, several other ties reached the halfway stage of their clashes at the penultimate stage.
11-time world women’s champion Reanne Evans struggled to follow up her headline-making first round victory over Robin Hull as she trails Lee Walker 6-1 overnight.
Michael White, Mark King, Dominic Dale, and Xiao Guodong are among the others to boast healthy cushions going into their concluding session on Monday.