German Masters qualifying concluded on Sunday with reigning champion Kyren Wilson failing in his bid to return to Berlin.
Two victories were required at the Barnsley Metrodome over the weekend in order to safely book a spot in the last 32 at the Tempodrom next month.
While Wilson, who claimed a third career ranking title with a 9-7 triumph over David Gilbert this year, was able to negotiate his first test, the Kettering cueist succumbed to a 5-4 loss to Zhao Xintong at the final hurdle.
The 28 year-old wasn’t alone with quite a few big names suffering exits in the preliminaries.
Marks Selby and Allen were both pipped in deciders as well, enduring respective 5-4 reverses against Jamie Clarke and Gerard Greene.
Stuart Bingham and Stephen Maguire were a couple of others to be denied, while recent Scottish Open runner-up Jack Lisowski didn’t even make it past the opening round.
Former champions Ali Carter, Martin Gould, and Anthony Hamilton were unable to return to the scene of one of their biggest career successes either.
Still, there’s plenty of star attraction remaining with a number of high-profile competitors managing to safely negotiate the German Masters qualifying.
World champion Judd Trump bounced back from his disappointing loss in the European Masters qualifiers last week by comfortably beating Daniel Wells and Stuart Carrington to advance.
The world number one will be joined by Ding Junhui, with the UK champion extending his run of form by overcoming Alex Borg and Matthew Stevens.
Mark Williams, who has twice tasted glory in the German Masters, is in the hunt to make it a hat-trick with the likes of Neil Robertson, John Higgins, and Shaun Murphy also on course to challenge for the £80,000 top prize.
There’s no doubting, though, that there could be an opportunity for one or more of the lower ranked players to go on an unlikely run to the business end of the event.
Players ranked from Trump in first to Greene in 121st are scattered all over the draw.
Among the other cuiests outside the top 64 set to feature at the venue stages are Jak Jones, Elliot Slessor, Alexander Ursenbacher, Nigel Bond, Mitchell Mann, Ian Burns, David Grace, and Kishan Hirani.
Several seasoned pros will be hoping to take advantage of the slightly weakened line-up too.
Former world champion Graeme Dott, a runner-up in 2018, has been in solid form this season and will first face Tian Pengfei in the German capital.
Joe Perry meets another former finalist in Luca Brecel while experienced English quartet Gary Wilson, Robert Milkins, Matthew Selt, and Tom Ford are additionally through.
The climax to the German Masters qualifying coincides with the end of snooker action in 2019 altogether.
It’s been another busy year in the sport and during the last week of the year we’ll be reflecting on some of the highs and lows from the past twelve months.
For the players themselves, it’s time for a well-earned rest.