Martin Gould won the last three frames to beat top seed Zhao Xintong in the World Grand Prix opener on Monday in Coventry.
The Pinner Potter took advantage of a misfiring display from the young Chinese, who couldn’t replicate the kind of form that took him to a sensational UK Championship triumph just over a week ago.
Zhao compiled a century break in the third frame to lead 2-1, but Gould responded with contributions of 75, 52, and 79 to advance to the last 16.
The former German Masters champion only just scraped into the event in 32nd place on the one-year rankings list, from which qualification is determined.
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s 5-4 victory over Li Hang in last week’s Scottish Open quarter-final meant that a grateful Gould went into the draw at Li’s expense.
“I’m delighted, it was a little bit scrappy and I think we both got bogged down to start off with,” Martin Gould told the World Snooker Tour soon after his win.
“I think the century he made to go 2-1 up kind of kick started me more than anything – it told me to up the tempo and speed up a little bit, get a nice rhythm around the table.”
“Otherwise, I probably would have just kept playing a pedestrian pace shall we say, and that’s not my standard. I like to get on with it.
“I didn’t watch any of that Ronnie and Li game. I was still on my way home (from the Scottish Open) when that was going on, it’s obviously a long journey from Llandudno.
“I got home at about half past three, I unpacked, stuck all the washing on, made a cup of tea and something to eat, and then a mate of mine texted me and said ‘you’re in’, and that’s how I knew.
“That morning, the World Snooker Tour wanted to know if I’d be willing to be a standby anyway if I didn’t get in outright, so I said ‘no problem if that’s the case’.
“I still would have been in the building at some point this week, but whether I’d have played or not is another matter, so I’ll have to treat Ronnie to some dinner at some point next time we have a game.
“For the last week I’ve been playing with a new cue, and there are little aspects of that that are still catching me out, but I feel very comfortable with it.
“It’s a little bit different to what I’m used to, but I’m enjoying playing with it and I’m enjoying the new challenge of playing with something different.
“I’ve played with the same thing for 25 years, so it’s like a part of my right arm has gone wandering but that part is starting to very slowly get back into position.”
In the second round, Gould will take on Yan Bingtao after the reigning Masters champion ousted Mark King with a 4-1 scoreline.
Later on day one, there were a couple of deciding-frame thrillers as Jack Lisowski and Anthony Hamilton defeated Mark Williams and Kyren Wilson respectively.
Zhao Xintong 2-4 Martin Gould
Yan Bingtao 4-1
Mark King Kyren Wilson 3-4 Anthony Hamilton
Neil Robertson vs Noppon Saengkham
Mark Allen vs Cao Yupeng
Barry Hawkins vs Mark Selby
Judd Trump vs Ben Woollaston
John Higgins vs Tom Ford
Mark Williams 3-4 Jack Lisowski
Anthony McGill vs Stephen Maguire
Ricky Walden vs Stuart Bingham
David Gilbert vs Ali Carter
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Andy Hicks
Gary Wilson vs Hossein Vafaei
Jimmy Robertson vs Matthew Selt
Luca Brecel vs Jordan Brown
Live coverage continues in the UK and Ireland on ITV4.
Featured photo credit: WST