Judd Trump continued his fine start to 2019 with a scrappy 5-2 victory over Li Hang as the German Masters got under way in Berlin on Wednesday.
Defending champion Mark Williams also safely made it through to the last 16 after a 5-3 success against another Chinese competitor, Zhou Yuelong.
Trump has enjoyed a jubilant January as he followed up an initial low-key Championship League group success with his Maiden Masters title at the Alexandra Palace.
The 29 year-old wasn’t at his free-scoring best against an equally out-of-sorts Li, but breaks of 94 and 55 proved to be enough to help see him advance at the Tempodrom.
Yan Bingtao will represent Trump’s next challenge after the teenager won the last three frames to come from behind and deny Matthew Stevens 5-3.
Within a fortnight of his Masters success…
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) January 30, 2019
Williams, meanwhile, remained on course for a hat-trick of titles after a hard-fought triumph over Zhou.
The Welshman hasn’t been at his best this season after a stellar last campaign that saw him win three ranking titles, including the World Championship.
But Williams has remained consistent enough and could threaten Mark Selby’s long reign as world number one before the end of this term.
There were a couple of notable upsets on the first day as Peter Ebdon got the better of Shaun Murphy in a battle of two former world champions and Barry Hawkins lost four of the last five frames in a deciding frame defeat to Robert Milkins.
Ebdon’s 5-3 win could prove vital in the World Grand Prix reckoning with Murphy now in danger of dropping out of the running for next week’s lucrative ranking event.
Only the top 32 on the one-year money list following the conclusion of this event will gain an invite to Cheltenham and Murphy, in equal 30th spot, boasts just a narrow advantage over the chasing pack.
This includes Ebdon, who could force his way into contention with a run to the last four in the German capital city.
Elsewhere, 2012 runner-up Stephen Maguire enjoyed the most routine victory with a 5-1 thumping of Michael Georgiou.
Kyren Wilson and Joe Perry, who won the last four frames to eek through in a decider, progressed to the second round as well with respective wins over Rory McLeod and Sam Baird.
A busy day on Thursday will see the remaining first round ties played, with the likes of Selby, Ding Junhui, and Neil Robertson entering the fray.
Later in the evening session, the top half of the draw will be back in action to determine the first four quarter-finalists.