All but two of the 16 group winners from the first stage have now been determined at the Marshall Arena.
Ashley Carty defied his low seeding to top Group 16 of the Championship League at the expense of two former world champions on Sunday in Milton Keynes.
The Englishman earned seven points from an entertaining group that came down to the very last frame.
After beating world number two Neil Robertson 3-1 at the start of the day, Carty’s 2-2 draw with Kurt Maflin took him to four points in the standings.
Round-robin rival Ken Doherty mirrored his progress, meaning the pair clashed in a winner-took-all battle to end day seven.
When Carty pulled two frames clear the 24 year-old was on the brink of advancing, knowing that the Irishman would have to win the last two frames in addition to usurping his earlier run of 87 that stood as the duo’s highest break of the day.
But Doherty duly compiled a timely 90 to reduce the arrears to within one, and the 1997 world champion had an opportunity to pinch the last frame too only for Carty to eventually hold on.
The former European Under-21 Championship runner-up completes Group A of the second phase – joining Luca Brecel, Gary Wilson, and Mark Joyce who all secured their spots earlier in the competition.
Barry Hawkins was the other player to emerge successfully, winning Group 7 ahead of Anthony McGill.
The latter needed to beat Hawkins in their final fixture against one another, but Hawkins won the two frames he required in order to negotiate his opening hurdle.
Hawkins joins Group B alongside world champion Judd Trump, David Gilbert, and Ryan Day in what is increasingly looking like the group of death on Wednesday.
👏 Group 7 winner Barry Hawkins reflects on his efforts today with @davehendon which sees him advance into the Winners’ Group stage next week. He will face Trump, Day, and Gilbert. Tasty!#ChampionshipLeague pic.twitter.com/wKub3ozDTP
— Championship League (@CLSnooker) June 7, 2020
Once again, all eight players tested negative for the coronavirus before being able to participate.
Accommodation at the Marshall Arena means that players can adhere to the strict isolation measures that are being enforced for this tournament in order for it to run smoothly.
The remaining two groups from phase one of the event are on Monday with Mark Allen and Ali Carter among those set to participate.
A champion’s cheque worth £30,000 is on offer as the snooker players return to some form of normality, albeit under rather unique circumstances.
Live coverage from Milton Keynes is provided worldwide as the sport attempts to capitalise on what is currently a rather barren sporting calender.
ITV4 will provide blanket coverage in the UK and Ireland, Eurosport has earned the rights for the European continent, while new streaming service Matchroom.Live will bring the tournament to fans across Africa, the Americas, and parts of Asia.
Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)
Featured photo credit: CLSnooker