The top-16 seeds who were in action on day two of the UK Championship all made it through their opening challenges in York on Wednesday.
Record seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan compiled a brace of century breaks to see off two-time former ranking event winner Michael White with a 6-3 scoreline that was matched by Mark Williams in his victory against Lei Peifan.
World champion Mark Selby and three-time UK champion Ding Junhui needed one frame less as they recorded respective 6-2 triumphs over Ross Muir and Zhang Anda.
For Ding, this tournament is particularly important as the ranking points from his 2019 success at the Barbican Centre are set to be removed from his official two-year tally, which looks set to cost him his top 16 membership and a spot at the upcoming Masters.
Barry Hawkins and Jack Lisowski were even more comfortable, with the Hawk thrashing Reanne Evans 6-1 and Lisowski inflicting a bagel on young talent Sean Maddocks.
The two performances of the day, however, came from a couple of the lower seeds in this year’s UK Championship.
Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh was in a ridiculous scoring mood when he comprehensively dispatched of legend Stephen Hendry with a 6-1 destruction.
The Scot was fortunate to get even one frame on the board as Un-Nooh rattled off five century breaks, becoming only the fourth player to manage the feat in a best-of-eleven affair.
Gary Wilson, meanwhile, produced a moment of magic to compile a fourth career 147 break during his 6-2 beating of Ian Burns – an achievement that puts him in pole position to land the £15,000 high break jackpot at the end of the tournament.
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Elsewhere in the UK Championship, David Gilbert, Ricky Walden, Anthony Hamilton, and Mark King were among the other former ranking event champions to progress beyond the initial hurdle.
But Matthew Stevens, the UK champion from 2003, is already out following a dramatic 6-5 reverse to Hammad Miah that continues to put the Welshman’s overall tour survival in jeopardy.
Matthew Selt, Xiao Guodong, Cao Yupeng, and Noppon Saengkham were some of the other familiar names to progress to the last 64.
On Friday, the first round of the 2021 UK Championship concludes with last year’s finalists Neil Robertson and Judd Trump among the higher seeds entering the fray.
Live coverage of the first round is available on Eurosport. Other options are available around the world with more details on the World Snooker Tour website.
Featured photo credit: WST