Judd Trump began his first campaign as a world champion with a 6-3 victory over Jordan Brown in the 2019 International Championship in Daqing on Sunday.
The Englishman became the sport’s newest Crucible king back in May after an outstanding triumph over John Higgins in Sheffield.
After skipping last week’s Riga Masters, Trump launched his 2019/20 term with a relatively routine win in his held over qualifying round fixture.
The world number two is chasing down the top spot in the world rankings, currently held by the absent Ronnie O’Sullivan, and will be one of the favourites for this year’s International Championship.
Trump has happy memories of this tournament, having previously emerged with the title after the inaugural staging in 2012.
The 29 year-old will face Zhang Anda in the first round proper on Monday as he bids to build on the confidence gained from last season.
Many are expecting Trump to be the player to beat this week in what is one of the richest events on the calendar, boasting a hefty top prize of £175,000.
But there are numerous other contenders, several of whom enjoyed victories on day one of this year’s edition.
Reigning champion Mark Allen was the quickest out of the blocks, wasting little time in hammering Peter Lines 6-1 in another held over preliminary round tie.
John Higgins and Ding Junhui were also tasked with the additional match, with each competitor just about scraping through titanic battles in deciding frame thrillers.
Higgins, one half of Scotland’s World Cup winning duo from June, could only muster a top break of 57 but managed to take three out of the last four frames to deny amateur Wu Yize.
Home hero Ding was similarly taken the distance before finally outlasting Simon Lichtenberg – much to the delight of his legion of fans.
Ding Junhui (finally) gets the job done.
Asia’s number one is through to the first round of the International Championship after beating Simon Lichtenberg in a decider!
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) August 4, 2019
Among some of the high profile names to make it beyond the last 64 were Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham, and Yan Bintao.
The latter, fresh off his maiden ranking title at last week’s Riga Masters in Latvia, hammered Alfie Burden 6-1 while former world champions Robertson and Bingham enjoyed one-sided scorelines as well.
Surprise World Championship semi-finalists David Gilbert and Gary Wilson were on the winning side too as they inflicted heavy defeats on veterans Ken Doherty and Peter Ebdon respectively.
Stephen Maguire was the day’s most convincing winner, though, with the five-time ranking event champion annihilating Stuart Carrington in a whitewash, albeit scrappy, affair.
There were a few notable upsets with the likes of Barry Hawkins, Ryan Day, and Martin Gould all bowing out.
Former champion Ricky Walden secured a 6-2 triumph over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh while Ali Carter held off a spirited Alan McManus to prevail in a decider.
Among some of the others to advance to the next stage were Joe Perry, Jimmy Robertson, Anthony McGill, Mark Davis, and Graeme Dott.
On Monday, Mark Williams and Shaun Murphy are a couple of the star performers who will be entering the fray.