Hossein Vafaei survived a scare in the Welsh Open qualifying round – fighting back from 3-1 behind to deny Andrew Higginson in a thriller.
Vafaei, last month’s Snooker Shoot Out champion, got off to the best possible start by making a nice break of 122 in the opening frame on Wednesday.
But after wasting several chances in the following three frames, Higginson moved to within the brink of a place at the venue stages.
Contributions of 74 and 64 for Vafaei forced the deciding frame, though, which he duly won on the final black to ultimately emerge unscathed from the Welsh Open qualifying.
The Iranian will face England’s Robbie Williams in the first round when the tournament gets under way properly at the end of February in Newport.
Elsewhere at the Aldersley Arena in Wolverhampton, Scottish Open champion Luca Brecel succumbed to a surprise defeat to Rory McLeod.
The Belgian Bullet’s form has gone quiet since the turn of the year, and veteran McLeod took advantage of a sluggish display from his opponent to prevail 4-2.
Three other encounters lasted the distance, with Anthony Hamilton winning the last two frames to beat Lyu Haotian and Mark Davis doing likewise against Alfie Burden.
Late in the day, Liam Highfield held off Mark King in another fixture that produced plenty of drama and concluded on the final colours.
China’s Lu Ning and home competitor Andrew Pagett were the other two names to make it through the preliminary section.
On Thursday, the qualifying action continues with eight more ties and the likes of former Welsh Open champion Ali Carter and former world champion Graeme Dott entering the fray.
Live coverage is available on the Eurosport Player and Matchroom.Live.
Click here to view the draw (scheduled times in CET)
Featured photo credit: WST