Ng On Yee caused a major upset in Q School as she came from 3-1 down to beat Joe Swail 4-3 and reach the fourth round in Preston.
The world women’s champion had performed well in her opening two encounters to beat Josh Mulholland and veteran Irishman Dessie Sheehan, but was expected to fall short against a player of Swail’s stature.
It looked as though the Northern Irishman, twice a World Championship semi-finalist and a former ranking event runner-up who dropped out of the top 64 towards the conclusion of the last campaign, was going to move comfortably into the next round when he led by two frames with three to play.
However, On Yee nabbed a hat-trick of close frames on the colours to pull off an unexpected comeback, leaving Swail with just one more opportunity to regain his tour card.
For Hong Kong’s On Yee, she requires three more wins at Q School 1 in order to secure her Main Tour place for the first time.
The 26 year-old faces China’s Ma Tingpeng in the last 16, while the likes of Martin O’Donnell, Jamie Rhys Clark, and Lukas Kleckers also feature in her quarter – in which one survivor graduates with a professional ticket.
Kleckers, widely regarded as the most promising young German prospect, continued his progress with a 4-1 defeat of Sam Thistlewhite.
Elsewhere, it was a hugely disappointing day for the small Irish contingent who made the short journey across the Irish sea.
Greg Casey was downed 4-2 by Daniel Ward while, earlier in the day, three-time national champion TJ Dowling suffered a surprisingly one-sided 4-0 defeat to Michael Williams.
Like Swail, both Dowling and Casey will have one more chance at Q School 2.
Meanwhile, England’s Sean O’Sullivan, who in the first round came from 3-0 down to prevail in a decider, seems to have grown in confidence after compiling an excellent 140 en route to whitewashing Alex Davies.
Twelve players in total will earn professional cards via Q School – four each from the two tournaments staged, along with a further four who will be invited through an Order of Merit rankings table based on their results this fortnight.