Vladislav Gradinari was the star of day one as the 2023 Snooker Shoot Out commenced at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
The 14 year-old from Moldova became the youngest ever winner of a televised ranking event match after beating Ng On Yee in the first round.
One of six promising young amateur players invited to participate in the competition by the WPBSA this year, Gradinari is the current EPSB under-14 champion.
The teenager looked at home in front of the noisy crowd and potted several impressive balls in what turned out to be a comfortable 40-1 triumph.
“It feels amazing,” a delighted Vladislav Gradinari told the World Snooker Tour upon reaching the last 64 of the 2023 Snooker Shoot Out.
“I just played my best game, I had some shots and I potted them. I did what I should have done, I’m happy with that.”
“I felt (nervous) inside. At the table I was a bit calm, but I was feeling everything in my hands.
“At the age of seven, I started playing snooker. Then we moved here two years ago, I’m living in Leeds and practicing in the Northern Snooker Centre.
“Snooker is not really popular (in Moldova). We’ve got three or four tables in the whole country, and we’re trying to improve the level.
“My mom and my granddad were watching on TV, and from them I started watching as well and then tried to play. I really liked it.
“I’m doing everything possible (to turn professional), to be a full-time player as well. I’m doing home-schooling and playing professionals in the club where I practice.
“I can’t wait for the second round – a random draw again, so we’ll see.”
Meanwhile, Hossein Vafaei’s reign as champion was over as early as the first game, with the Iranian downed by Shaun Murphy.
In one of the other high-profile first-round ties, Jack Lisowski potted a black in the dying seconds to deny the in-form Mark Allen.
There was disappointment for Jimmy White’s legion of fans with the Whirlwind ruing an in-off in his defeat to Adam Duffy.
In a battle of the six-time former ranking event winners, Ken Doherty overcame Stephen Maguire.
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Martin Gould – Shoot Out champions in 2019 and 2013 respectively, advanced after victories against Ian Martin and Jamie Clarke.
Mark Williams, who scored the day’s highest break with a terrific run of 98, and his protégé Jackson Page were among the others to make it through.
The remaining matches from the round of 128 in the 2023 Snooker Shoot Out take place on Thursday.
Hossein Vafaei 9-33 Shaun Murphy
Vladislav Gradinari 40-1 Ng On Yee
Jamie O’Neill 55-2 Ryan Thomerson
Liam Graham 43-21 Cap Yupeng
Ian Martin 23-42 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Luke Simmonds 21-45 Sam Craigie
Robbie McGuigan 52-3 Hammad Miah
James Cahill 15-50 Jordan Brown
Joe Perry 85-0 Luca Brecel
Lukas Kleckers 52-1 Rod Lawler
Joe O’Connor 20-28 Dylan Emery
Barry Pinches 16-12 Michael Judge
Anthony Hamilton 21-34 Ben Mertens
Andy Hicks 4-60 Rory McLeod
Jack Borwick 11-50 Ali Carter
Mark Williams 98-0 Craig Steadman
Jack Lisowski 36-9 Mark Allen
Martin Gould 75-20 Jamie Clarke
Alexander Ursenbacher 31-19 Aaron Hill
Robbie Williams 87-0 Mink Nutcharut
Mark Joyce 14-18 Victor Sarkis
Robert Milkins 47-14 Andy Lee
Sean O’Sullivan 13-26 Dean Young
Andrew Pagett 20-40 Ashley Hugill
Stephen Maguire 9-33 Ken Doherty
Jamie Jones 70-16 Jenson Kendrick
Ben Woollaston 64-1 Sanderson Lam
Muhammad Asif 21-42 Gerard Greene
Louis Heathcote 8-66 Oliver Lines
Jimmy White 7-44 Adam Duffy
Peng Yisong 1-65 Daniel Wells
Barry Hawkins 1-37 Jackson Page
Thursday, January 26
Session starts at 1pm
Riley Powell vs Kyren Wilson
Andres Petrov vs Noppon Saengkham
Zak Surety vs Fergal O’Brien
Fan Zhengyi vs Ding Junhui
Michael Georgiou vs Tian Pengfei
Matthew Stevens vs Dominic Dale
John Astley vs Pang Junxu
Peter Lines vs Julien Leclercq
David Grace vs Lyu Haotian
Mark King vs Jak Jones
Lei Peifan vs Michael Holt
Yuan Sijun vs Rebecca Kenna
Zhang Anda vs Callum Beresford
Duane Jones vs Zhou Yuelong
Dechawat Poomjaeng vs Si Jiahui
Jimmy Robertson vs Ryan Day
Thursday, January 26
Session starts at 7pm
Mark Davis vs Mark Selby
Alfie Burden vs Ian Burns
Liam Highfield vs Florian Nuessle
Micahel White vs Mitchell Mann
David Lilley vs Oliver Brown
Asjad Iqbal vs David Gilbert
Stuart Bingham vs Reanne Evans
Ricky Walden vs Gary Wilson
Steven Hallworth vs Stuart Carrington
Xiao Guodong vs Anton Kazakov
Elliot Slessor vs Allan Taylor
Farakh Ajaib vs Chris Wakelin
Xu Si vs Matthew Selt
Ross Muir vs Wu Yize
Himanshu Jain vs Tom Ford
Mohamed Ibrahim vs Haydon Pinhey
Featured photo credit: WST