All of the bigger names advanced as the Home Nations series got under way with the start of the English Open on Monday.
There were a few close calls but, by the end of a hectic day’s play that concluded after midnight, there were no major casualties of note to speak of in Barnsley.
That said, a few of the seeds did require all seven frames before narrowly edging into the last 64 in deciders.
Judd Trump, Kyren Wilson, and John Higgins were all taken the distance but managed to keep their hopes of the million pound bonus alive – given to any player who can achieve the unlikely feat of capturing all four Home Nations crowns.
Trump, who defended his European Masters title last week, knocked in breaks of 114 and 143 but still found himself 3-2 down to Robbie Williams, before rallying to seal a clincher in an entertaining affair.
The Englishman was runner-up to Liang Wenbo last season when the event was previously staged in Manchester and will be seeking to make full use of his rejuvenated vision following laser eye treatment as he bids to win successive ranking events for the first time in his career.
Higgins similarly came from behind to deny Elliot Slessor while World Games gold medallist Wilson withstood a spirited fight back from Rod Lawler to hang on at the death.
Anthony McGill was another who escaped an early exit as he held on in a scrappy, nervy fixture with Michael Holt 4-3.
Liang, meanwhile, who jumped for joy as he bagged his maiden ranking title in 2016, eased passed his opening test with a 4-1 triumph against Duane Jones.
There were even more comfortable victories for Stuart Bingham and Mark Allen, who each recorded 4-0 scorelines in respective defeats of Lee Walker and Jimmy White.
Allen knocked in three breaks above 70 while Bingham compiled a brace of centuries, both efforts falling short on maximum attempts as he had to settle for runs of 112 and 104.
Later in the day as the clocks ticked into Tuesday, English duo Shaun Murphy and Ali Carter beat Soheil Vahedi and Oliver Lines 4-1 respectively.
Lines’ father Peter didn’t fare much better as he was downed 4-2 in a scrappy encounter with Barry Hawkins.
Elsewhere, 26 year-old Jack Lisowski constructed a terrific 144, the highest break of the tournament so far, and a 130 in hammering Rory McLeod 4-0.
Chinese teenager Yan Bingtao likewise progressed courtesy of a whitewash win and will perhaps be looking to join in on the action this season after several of his countrymen have reached the latter stages of competitions this term.
Among those were Li Hang and Zhang Anda, who both also advanced along with a host of other Chinese cueists including Xiao Guodong, Zhang Yong, and Chen Zifan.
Meanwhile, it was a disappointing day for some of the Irish players in action as Fergal O’Brien and Leo Fernandez were both downed 4-3.
Highfield won the last three frames and duly knocked in a wonderful 140 in the final frame to deny O’Brien, while Fernandez fell to Mitchell Mann.
By contrast, Northern Ireland’s Joe Swail came from 3-2 down to pip Chris Totten in a turgid battle.
Matthew Stevens, Mark Davis, and Jimmy Robertson were among some of the other names to qualify for the second round.
On Tuesday, the likes of Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan, and Ding Junhui enter the fray at the Metrodome.
Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)
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