Barry Hawkins overcame Robin Hull 6-3 to qualify for the China Open as the qualifying stage got under way on Monday in Cannock.
The 2018 runner-up compiled breaks of 135, 93, 85, 71, and 68 in a high-scoring affair with the Finn.
In April last year, Hawkins reached the final of a revamped China Open that resulted in a boosted overall prize fund of more than £1 million – but was denied the rich champion’s cheque by world number one Mark Selby.
The China Open is often an important tournament on the calendar as it is generally staged as the penultimate event just prior to the World Snooker Championship.
It is a vital last opportunity for competitors in and around the top 16 spots in the world rankings to break into the elite bracket in time to secure automatic qualification for Sheffield.
The likes of Ryan Day and Ali Carter – regular participants at the Crucible – will be glad then to get their China Open campaigns off to a positive start with early qualifying round victories.
Day, currently in 17th place in the Race to the Crucible pecking order, beat Zhang Anda 6-2 while recent World Grand Prix runner-up Carter triumphed against Allan Taylor with a 6-3 scoreline.
Marco Fu, who has suffered a rapid descent down the rankings, wasted little time in hammering Niu Zhuang 6-1.
Elsewhere, former English Open champion Liang Wenbo led a strong contingent of Chinese cueists who qualified for their final home event of this term.
The 31 year-old won three out of the last four frames to deny compatriot Zhao Xintong in a decider.
Talented teenager Yuan Sijun ousted Ian Burns 6-4 while Xu Si, Lu Ning, and Mei Xiwen all progressed to the last 64 as well at the expense of higher ranked opposition.
However, Luo Honghao bowed out as veteran Alan McManus did his tour survival hopes the power of good with a 6-3 defeat of the 2018 WSF champion.
Meanwhile, Kurt Maflin put the disappointment of last week’s tough quarter-final loss to eventual Welsh Open winner Neil Robertson behind him with a 6-4 win against Ashley Hugill – who compiled the day’s high break of 140.
Welshman Jamie Clarke finally triumphed as a professional for the first time after an overdue 6-4 beating of Noppon Saengkham and he was joined by countrymen Kishan Hirani and Dominic Dale in advancing to Beijing.
Matthew Selt, Sam Craigie, John Astley, and Alexander Ursenbacher were the other names to make it through.
On Tuesday, the likes of Robertson, Judd Trump, and John Higgins enter the fray at the Chase Leisure Centre.