Mark Selby began his China Championship defence with a 5-3 victory over Chen Feilong in Guangzhou on Monday.
The former world number one, who hasn’t won on the Main Tour since his success in China more than twelve months ago, was made to work for his passage into the last 64.
The Leicester man raised his game after an even interval score, taking three out of the last four frames with the aid of a brace of century breaks.
Selby is among a group of high-profile names who are bidding for the crucial tournament victory that would seal a spot in this year’s Champion of Champions invitational.
The three-time world champion could miss out on the Ricoh Arena if he can’t pick up silverware either this week, or in the upcoming English or World Opens.
After safely negotiating his held over preliminary round, Selby continues his China Championship defence on Tuesday with a fixture against Lu Ning in the first round proper.
Fellow stars Mark Williams and Ding Junhui are in a similar boat, needing to etch their names on a trophy before the 16-man field is confirmed for Coventry.
While Williams lost just a single frame in his 5-1 rout of Kishan Hirani, home hero Ding went one better with a whitewash drubbing of Brandon Sargeant.
💬 “I feel like I am going to score every time I get a chance, but you just need to get those few wins.”
Defending champion @markjesterselby is hoping that he can ignite his season with further success in Guangzhou this week.#ChinaChampionship pic.twitter.com/s8Mzbz0k9Z
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) September 23, 2019
Meanwhile, current world champion and world number one Judd Trump also had few problems as he outplayed veteran James Wattana for a 5-1 victory in his own held over qualifying match.
Trump triumphed in the last ranking event in China when he superbly romped to success in the International Championship last month.
John Higgins, last year’s runner-up in Guangzhou, and Barry Hawkins also progressed – reaching the last 32 with relative ease.
Ryan Day held off a late fight back to deny Joe O’Connor 5-4, Matthew Stevens prevailed in a battle of Wales with Dominic Dale, while another former ranking event winner in Martin Gould reversed a 3-1 deficit to power past Scott Donaldson.
Among some of the other names to make it through the opening day were Indian Open champion Matthew Selt, Kurt Maflin, Li Hang, and Chris Wakelin.
As well as Selby and Trump continuing, the likes of former champion Luca Brecel and Australian Neil Robertson will be entering the fold on Tuesday.