Seven former Welsh Open champions began the 2020 edition of the ranking event strongly as the action got under way on Monday in Cardiff.
There hasn’t been a home champion since 1999 but that year’s winner Mark Williams is still going strong two decades later and the 44 year-old began with a 4-1 victory against Oliver Lines.
Stuart Bingham, the winner in 2017, appeared to be in trouble when he trailed Martin Gould by a couple of frames early on but the recent Masters champion fought back to secure a 4-2 triumph.
Ding Junhui and Stephen Maguire, who etched their names onto the silverware in 2012 and 2013 respectively, edged into the second round courtesy of tight 4-2 scorelines.
Two-time winner Ken Doherty was another player from the batch of former Welsh Open champions to make it through after overcoming Mark King.
Ali Carter and Mark Selby were still competing late in the day but managed to progress to the last 64 at the expense of Adam Stefanow and David Grace.
Selby is bidding to capture a hat-trick of Home Nations series trophies in a single campaign.
The former world number one triumphed in the English Open in October before repeating the success in the Scottish Open two months later.
Meanwhile, it was a busy first day at the Motorpoint Arena as world champion Judd Trump progressed as well.
The world number one opened his encounter against renowned giant-killer James Cahill with an excellent break of 132 and eventually ran out a 4-1 winner.
“It’s a tournament that I’ve never won before, so hopefully I can have a good run”@judd147t has his eye on more silverware in Cardiff 🏆
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Elsewhere, Welsh favourite Matthew Stevens produced an excellent display as he banged in a brace of century breaks in ousting David Gilbert.
The former UK and Masters champion has a dreadful record on home soil and has never been beyond the quarter-final stage.
Countrymen Ryan Day and Michael White crashed out, though, following respective reverses against Simon Lichtenberg and Anthony Hamilton.
Joe Perry also suffered an early exit, losing 4-3 to Ashley Carty, in what could be a potentially damaging result for his aspirations of safeguarding his top 16 place ahead of the World Championship.
Among some of the others to safely negotiate their opening challenges were Jack Lisowski, Tom Ford, and Jimmy Robertson.
Chinese youngsters Yuan Sijun, Lyu Haotian, and Si Jiahui – who compiled the day’s highest break of 140 – moved into the last 64 as well.
On Tuesday, the first round reaches its conclusion with remaining former Welsh Open champions John Higgins, Ronnie O’Sullivan, and the in-form Neil Robertson among those entering the fray.
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