Judd Trump secured a 5-1 victory over Noppon Saengkham in the German Masters as the first day of action at the Tempodrom took place on Wednesday.
The world champion, a runner-up in Berlin six years ago, was slow to get going but established a 3-1 lead before breaks of 114 and 85 completed what turned out to be a routine triumph against the Thai.
Trump will be hoping to take advantage of a weakened field that boasts only six out of the top 16 from the world rankings list.
The world number one’s next opponent will be another former finalist in Luca Brecel after the Belgian scored a one-sided 5-0 success against Joe Perry.
Meanwhile, Mark Williams and Graeme Dott set up a repeat of their 2018 final after each emerged with defeats over Chinese opposition.
Williams has been struggling for form and motivation recently but compiled a brace of century breaks in arguably his best display this term, overcoming Yuan Sijun 5-2.
It was a more gruelling opening fixture for Dott, with the tenacious Scot forced to fight back from 4-2 down to deny Tian Pengfei in a decider.
There are no marquee names elsewhere in the bottom half of the draw, which means that there could be an opportunity for a lesser-known competitor to make a rare appearance at the business end of an important competition.
Matthew Selt, last year’s Indian Open champion, hammered Jamie Clarke with a whitewash victory to book his place in the last 16.
The Englishman will meet veteran Nigel Bond after the 54 year-old continued his resurgence of late by beating Kishan Hirani 5-2.
Michael Georgiou and Akani Songsermsawad were the other two players to seal berths in the second round after dropping only a single frame between them.
I’m doing the German Masters next season 💯
— GaryOnCue (@GaryOnCue) January 29, 2020
This event is one of the most popular on the calendar with a special venue that often produces an atmosphere like no other.
This year’s edition of the event is important for more reasons than simply the title and the £80,000 top prize that goes with it.
As part of the inaugural European Series, players will be hoping to perform well in order to put themselves in with a chance of a £150,000 bonus come the end of the four counting tournaments that also included last week’s European Masters as well as the upcoming Shoot Out and Gibraltar Open.
It is additionally the last event that will influence the Race to the World Grand Prix, with the top 32 in the one-year rankings set to qualify for Cheltenham next week.
On Thursday, the likes of Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui, and Shaun Murphy enter the fray.