Ken Doherty prolonged his 100% success record in qualifying matches this season after a 5-3 victory over Robbie Williams in the World Open qualifiers on Sunday.
The Irishman withstood a late revival from his opponent to seal his place in Yushan next month and continue his fine form since being awarded an invitational tour card in April.
Doherty had fallen off the tour at the end of the last campaign following a dismal spell on the circuit which yielded hardly any positive results.
However, the wildcard has seemingly rejuvenated the 1997 world champion, who is now playing with a freedom and confidence he hasn’t boasted in many years.
With £4,000 earned for his triumph against Williams, Doherty’s season tally is already up to £27,000 – thanks in large part to his run to the semi-finals of the Riga Masters in June.
The 47 year-old also qualified for the Indian Open and European Masters last week, while Doherty will also feature in the lucrative China Championship next week in Guangzhou.
That has him provisionally third in the season’s earnings list behind only Ryan Day and Stephen Maguire.
For Doherty’s countryman Josh Boileau, it was another disappointing outing as the youngster lost 5-2 to Jamie Jones.
Boileau will have to discover a marked improvement in his form soon if he wants to prolong his stay on the tour, with the top 64 seemingly well out of reach at this point.
Fergal O’Brien also had an unusually bad day at the office as he was whitewashed 5-0 by Michael Georgiou.
Meanwhile, several of the heavy hitters found their groove and comfortably reached the main stages in China.
Mark Williams thumped Christopher Keogan 5-0 while Shaun Murphy and Mark Allen lost just a single frame as they overcame Alex Borg and Wang Yuchen respectively.
Sean O’Sullivan ran Marco Fu a little closer, taking three frames off the fifth seed, but the Hong Kong cueist knocked in breaks of 100, 62, and 58 as he won the last four frames for a 5-3 success.
Scotland’s Stephen Maguire and Anthony McGill had contrasting wins but each managed to reach the last 64.
Among the others to advance were Robert Milkins, Cao Yupeng, Duane Jones, Lee Walker, and Alfie Burden.
Elliot Slessor inflicted one of the rare upsets of the day at the Guild Hall as he edged Mark Davis in a decider.
The action continues in Preston on Tuesday with the likes of Judd Trump and Ryan Day in action.