The 2021/22 snooker season is beginning to get a little busier.
Stephen Maguire and Anthony McGill were among the early winners as the German Masters qualifiers got going in Cannock on Monday.
The venue stages for season’s German Masters aren’t scheduled to take place until the end of January, so it is somewhat unusual to have the preliminary rounds so far in advance.
As usual, the players will have to negotiate two rounds of German Masters qualifiers in order to feature at the Tempodrom in Berlin.
That predominantly means that there are several higher profile names who miss out after suffering premature exits from the competition.
However, Scottish duo Maguire and McGill had no such troubles in their early bouts, respectively beating Dominic Dale and Louis Heathcote with relative ease.
China’s Zhou Yuelong also returned to winning ways after a disappointing Northern Ireland Open, inflicting a 5-1 drubbing on Peter Devlin.
Elsewhere, there were several close fixtures that went down to the wire, including Tom Ford’s 5-4 triumph against fellow Englishman Joe O’Connor.
Jamie O’Neill and Allan Taylor also managed to survive the nine frames thanks to deciding-frame successes over Hammad Miah and Ashley Hugill respectively.
Zak Surety and Yuan Sijun had more comfortable outings, with the Englishman overcoming Mark Joyce and the Chinese youngster outplaying Lukas Kleckers by the same 5-2 margin.
Defeat for Kleckers will be particularly disappointing as it ends his hopes of competing on home soil.
On Tuesday, the German Masters qualifiers continue with the same eight winners facing off against one another for a berth in the first round proper.
Former champion Mark Williams and rising talent Zhao Xintong enter the fray at the Chase Leisure Centre as well.
Live coverage is available on the Eurosport Player and Matchroom.Live.