Judd Trump and Ding Junhui were among several big names to make it through their opening tests as the 2018 UK Championship got under way on Tuesday at the Barbican Centre.
Trump immediately picked up from where he left off in Belfast just over a week ago when he landed his ninth career ranking title at the expense of Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Northern Ireland Open.
The Englishman, whose 2011 UK triumph remains his sole success in a Triple Crown event, raced to a 6-0 romp over amateur David Lilley with breaks of 128, 113, 69, and 50.
Following his return to the spotlight, there is a lot of additional attention on Trump this year and the expectation to see whether or not he can maintain his momentum is palpable.
Ding, on the other hand, might fly in a little under the radar this year after a pretty average spell on the circuit by his high standards and not many are choosing him as a possible champion.
The Chinese number one, who has made the decision to skip a significant number of events in the first half of the campaign, has won the UK Championship twice before and got off to a solid start with a 6-1 drubbing of Adam Stefanow.
Another former winner, Neil Robertson lost just one additional frame as he comfortably saw off the challenge of Hishan Kirani with a 6-2 scoreline to book his place in the last 64 while hotly fancied Kyren Wilson joined the Australian with a whitewash win against Andy Lee.
One of the standout performances of the day came from the in-form Jack Lisowski, arguably the most consistent player of the 2018/19 season up until this point.
A constant presence at the business end of ranking events since reaching the final of the Riga Masters at the outset of this term, Lisowski has risen to 16th in the provisional world rankings and is in line to gain a maiden invitation to the prestigious Masters in January.
The “Dude” reeled off a brace of tons and compiled further runs of 82, 56, 53, and 51 in hammering Zhang Jiankang 6-1 and the 27 year-old could end up encountering defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the fourth round if the pair were to get that far.
Elsewhere in York, veteran Ken Doherty rolled back the years with a strong display in ousting up-and-coming talent Yuan Sijun 6-2, helped by an excellent 130 in the fourth frame.
Doherty’s reward is a possible second round clash with the “Rocket”, who beat the Irishman in one of the three UK finals that the 49 year-old lost throughout his career.
It was a mixed day for the Chinese contingent in action as joining Zhang and Yuan on the exit trail were Chen Zifan, Zhang Yong, and Xi Si who were downed by English trio Michael Holt, Matthew Selt, and Martin O’Donnell respectively.
Lyu Haotian lost too but to compatriot Tian Pengfei, while also advancing were young duo Zhou Yuelong and Luo Honghao.
Only one match went the distance on day one and it provided the biggest upset as Jak Jones won the last three frames to deny three-time ranking event winner Ricky Walden 6-5.
Jones’ fellow Welshman Dominic Dale edged Gerard Greene 6-4 while Ben Woollaston fired in a 136 century break, the highest of the day, in overcoming Alfie Burden and Robert Milkins thumped Sanderson Lam 6-1.
On Wednesday, the likes of John Higgins, Mark Allen, and Shaun Murphy enter the fray.
Live coverage of the first round is on the Eurosport Player.
Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)