Stephen Maguire and Ryan Day both survived scares before booking their places in the main draw of the World Open after deciding frame qualification victories in Preston on Monday.
Maguire edged Main Tour rookie Adam Stefanow 5-4 while Day repeated the scoreline against Ross Muir in what proved to be the last two encounters to finish after a long week of preliminary action at the Guild Hall.
It was particularly disappointing for Stefanow, the young Polish player having already lost his first match of the season in a decider with a painful defeat to Rory McLeod in the Riga Masters qualifiers last week.
The WSF Championship runner-up has suggested already that he’ll be able to mix it on the professional scene but he’ll want to put these two difficult results behind him as quickly as possible as it could have been so very different for the 24 year-old.
For both Maguire and Day, the duo will be hoping to secure top 16 places in the first half of this season in the hope of making a return to the Alexandra Palace in January for the prestigious Masters, so they’ll each be relieved to advance in this big-money Chinese ranking event.
Reigning Paul Hunter Classic champion Michael White wasn’t so fortunate, however, squandering a 4-2 lead in losing by the odd frame to Harvey Chandler – another newbie who graduated to the pro circuit after his success in the European Amateur Championship.
Ireland’s Ken Doherty was also stunned by a debutant with Germany’s Simon Lichtenberg, the European under-21 champion, inflicting an impressive 5-2 defeat on the 1997 world champion.
Meanwhile, Joe Perry compiled a high break of 108 as he held on for victory against Li Yuan in a tight affair that ended 5-3 in favour of the Englishman while countryman Chris Wakelin repeated the two-frame winning margin against Craig Steadman.
Elsewhere, Swiss star Alexander Ursenbacher just about scrambled home with a 5-4 win against Tian Pengfei, but China’s Lyu Haotian had a much better time of it as he booked a return flight home courtesy of a comfortable 5-1 drubbing of Eden Sharav.
Among the other names to advance to the last 64 next month were Kurt Maflin, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, and Paul Davison.