Judd Trump showed no signs of a hangover from his recent success at the German Masters, beating Li Hang 4-1 in the World Grand Prix on Tuesday in Cheltenham.
The defending champion lost the opening frame but quickly took control of his WGP first round encounter against the Chinese competitor and allowed his opponent only one point for the remainder of the contest.
A break of 65 restored parity and Trump raced to the finish line with additional contributions of 100, 138, and 97.
The world champion captured his fourth ranking title of the campaign on Sunday with victory over Neil Robertson in Berlin.
Robertson also advanced to the second round but was made to work harder for his 4-3 defeat of Michael Holt.
In a high-scoring affair that boasted a break about 50 in all seven frames, the Australian managed to survive the decider and maintain his impressive run of form of late.
While the worlds number one and two live to fight another day, several of the other seeds succumbed to early exits at the Centaur.
The WGP first round comprises the 32 highest ranked cueists on the one-year list, so every participant has demonstrated some kind of form this season.
But, even so, the likes of Ding Junhui, Mark Allen, and Shaun Murphy would have been expected to come through their initial tests.
Murphy let slip a 3-1 lead as Matthew Stevens edged the “Magician” in another match that lasted the distance.
Allen has featured in numerous semi-finals since the start of this season but looked short of his best as he fell in a 4-2 loss to Liang Wenbo – who, incidentally, will be giving his prize fund from this event to charity in support of research following the recent coronavirus outbreak.
The casualty of Ding, meanwhile, is stranger when put into the context of him having now lost to Scott Donaldson three times in the last three ranking events on the calender.
Seventh seed Thepchaiya Un-Nooh also crashed out with a 4-3 reverse against Matthew Selt, who sets up an apparent grudge match against Tom Ford after previously refusing to shake his fellow Englishman’s hand at the end of an ill-tempered Championship League fixture last month.
— Nikolay (@Nick007J) October 23, 2019
Elsewhere, Joe Perry secured a 4-2 triumph over Masters runner-up Ali Carter in what could be a crucial moment in the Race to the Crucible.
Scotland’s Graeme Dott was day two’s other winner as he outplayed Kurt Maflin to reach the last 16.
The WGP first round concludes on Wednesday with John Higgins in action against Stuart Bingham and Mark Williams facing 2017 champion Barry Hawkins.
Williams has had an apparent run-in with gout in the last week, severely affecting his mobility, so whether he’ll be able to produce a top-level performance or not remains to be seen.
Later on the third day, the next stage gets going too with Ronnie O’Sullivan back in action against Liang.