David Gilbert bounced back from his disappointment of losing in the final of the recent World Open with a victory over Niu Zhuang in Preston on Thursday – securing qualification for the Indian Open.
The 37 year-old let slip an apparently comfortable 9-5 advantage in the Yushan title decider just a few days ago, eventually finishing runner-up after a deciding frame defeat to world champion Mark Williams, and was openly devastated about his loss afterwards.
However, the Englishman’s form continued well and he responded with breaks of 74, 69, and 65 helping him to a 4-2 triumph over his Chinese opponent.
While the first day of preliminary round action at the Guild Hall on Wednesday produced hardly any upsets of note, the same could not be said as the remaining half of the draw got whittled down to complete the line-up that will head to the subcontinent.
Former champion Anthony McGill suffered a third loss out of four matches so far during this campaign with a 4-1 reverse against Thor Chuan Leong.
The Scot, who also finished runner-up in India twelve months ago to countryman John Higgins, is struggling for form at present and will soon drop out of the top 16 of the world rankings.
Ricky Walden was another marquee name to crash out, dropping the final two frames in a 4-3 scoreline with Zhao Xintong, who has been much improved this season already ever since getting back on the main tour via Q School in May.
Mark King was another higher ranked competitor to exit early, with the tenth seed falling 4-2 to Craig Steadman while Kurt Maflin’s slow start to the season continued with a 4-1 loss against Eden Sharav.
Aside from that, the majority of the other outcomes went true to form with the favourites progressing to the last 64 of the competition, set to be staged next month in September.
Luca Brecel fought back from behind to deny Simon Bedford, one of several amateur top-ups making up the numbers in this tournament, in a scrappy encounter that concluded with a decider.
Former world champion Graeme Dott was much more comprehensive in his 4-0 rout of Kishan Hirani while Chinese duo Yuan Sijun and Mei Xiwen were whitewash winners too against Hammad Miah and Akani Songsermsawad respectively.
Former German Masters champion Anthony Hamilton knocked in a couple of half century breaks in beating Farakh Ajaib, Fergal O’Brien beat Dechawat Poomjaeng, and Michael Holt overcame Chen Zifan to each give themselves an opportunity to fight for the silverware in a few weeks time.
Elsewhere, Rory McLeod got the better of Rod Lawler in a battle of attrition that went all the way to a final frame shoot out, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh ousted Adam Duffy, and Mark Davis was victorious against Sean O’Sullivan, winning 4-1.
Among the other names to advance were Chris Wakelin, Andrew Higginson, Ian Burns, Stuart Carrington, and Scott Donaldson.