Former world number one Mark Selby secured his spot in the 2019 International Championship after a 6-1 victory over Sam Baird on Friday in Sheffield.
The three-time world champion was in scintillating form as he launched his 2019/20 campaign in terrific fashion.
Selby reeled off breaks of 134, 124, 84, 74, 72, 61, and 59 in a supreme display of heavy scoring.
The 35 year-old has fond memories of the International Championship, with his name twice etched on the trophy.
It was a difficult last season for the Leicester man, with a string of lacklustre performances culminating in him losing his long-held top spot in the world rankings.
Selby has dropped to number six in the pecking order and, with the pressure of defending his position off his shoulders, he will be looking to regain the kind of form that saw him dominate the circuit a couple of years ago.
The Englishman won’t be used to the cubicles after years of being seeded through to the venue stages as the world number one but he certainly didn’t let that affect him.
Several other notable names managed to emerge from the preliminaries as well.
Shaun Murphy and Barry Hawkins both bounced back from their defeats in the Riga Masters qualifiers.
The 2005 world champion edged rookie Riley Parsons in a tight 6-4 affair while Hawkins won the last three frames to pull away from Jimmy White in a scrappy battle that ended 6-3.
Veterans Peter Ebdon and Ken Doherty progressed too with hard-fought triumphs against Soheil Vahedi and David Lilley respectively.
Ebdon required all eleven frames to dispatch of the Iranian while Dublin’s Doherty compiled five half centuries in overcoming Lilley 6-4.
That scoreline was matched by Ali Carter as the “Captain” held off Mitchell Mann in another close tie.
It was much more straightforward for Matthew Selt with the Indian Open winner thumping Lee Walker 6-1.
Jimmy Robertson, last year’s European Masters champion, beat Barry Pinches 6-3 while fellow Englishmen Mark Davis, Robert Milkins, and Louis Heathcote qualified as well.
For the latter, the 21 year-old and recent Q School graduate couldn’t have started his professional tenure in greater style with a brace of early qualifying wins under his belt.
Elsewhere, former Masters champion Alan McManus pipped returning pro Andy Hicks in a decider, with China’s Xiao Guodong and Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh also progressing to Daqing.
Among those entering the fray on Saturday are Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham, Jack Lisowski, and Ryan Day.