Judd Trump survived a scare in the World Open as he held off a spirited fight back from Sam Craigie – winning his last 64 tie 5-4 in Yushan on Tuesday.
In what was a performance more like the old Trump, rather than the one who has accumulated World Championship and Masters titles during this calendar year, the Englishman raced clear with devastating snooker only to allow his opponent a shot at a reprieve late on.
The world number one compiled breaks of 56, 113, and an excellent 144 total clearance to establish an early 3-0 cushion.
However, after Craigie got on the scoreboard with a century break of his own, the encounter became a scrappy affair.
The big breaks dried up and Craigie eventually completed the comeback to force a decider, but Trump held on to seal his berth in the last 32.
The 30 year-old will face Liang Wenbo next, one of a number of Chinese players still in the hunt on home soil.
Ding Junhui, whose last ranking event success came in this tournament two years ago, enjoyed a walkover after Liam Highfield’s withdrawal through illness.
Xiao Guodong, Zhou Yuelong, and Zhang Anda also continued their quests to land the £150,000 top prize.
Riga Masters champion Yan Bingtao crashed out, though, following a limp 5-1 defeat to Stuart Carrington.
Meanwhile, several seeded players were able to remain in the competition in Yushan.
John Higgins was made to work the hardest for his progress after the Scot was taken the distance by Lu Ning.
Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen narrowly avoided a similar fate as he was pegged back from a commanding 4-0 position to 4-3, before finally seeing off former world champion Ken Doherty.
Kyren Wilson didn’t have much trouble in beating Robbie Williams 5-2 while it was easier still for Jack Lisowski and Ali Carter, who recorded respective 5-1 successes over Luo Honghao and Igor Figueiredo.
Elsewhere, last weekend’s Haining Open champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh continued his fine recent form by comfortably ousting amateur Zhang Yang.
The Thai’s break of 104 in the opening frame resulted in him becoming the 69th player to reach the century of centuries career milestone.
Among the others to advance were Hossein Vafaei, Michael Holt, and Alfie Burden.