Barry Hawkins reached Judgement Day of the World Snooker Championship qualifiers with a 10-4 victory over David Lilley on Sunday.
The former Crucible runner-up has been forced into the preliminary competition for the first time in over a decade after dropping outside the top 16 in the world rankings.
Hawkins was far from his best in a gruelling affair, but this season’s European Masters finalist relied on his superior experience to get the job done.
“I’m just pleased to get through,” Barry Hawkins, who will face Jak Jones in the final qualifying round, told the World Snooker Tour.
“It was a brutal match really, the whole day. Every frame felt like it was well over 30 minutes – I don’t think I had one break over 50, I’m not sure.”
“It was a brutal game, a terrible standard. I didn’t expect to play as bad as that, but it’s just the way it went and I’m just delighted to get through to the next round.
“I didn’t feel that tense to be fair. The setup is really good, it feels like a bigger event so no complaints there.
“But today, it was just brutal. Every frame was a pint of blood – Dave, at the interval before we came out, he just said that it can’t get any worse.
“It is what it is (playing in the qualifiers). I started off well and didn’t capitalise on the good form at the start of the season.
“I’ve been winning matches but obviously not going deep enough in tournaments, I had quite a lot of points to defend.
“When you’re not going on deep runs in tournaments, you’re not earning enough ranking points. It’s my own fault.
“Other people have come through these qualifiers and ended up having good runs at the Crucible, so who knows.”
Welshman Jones, meanwhile, won three out of the last four frames to see off Robbie Williams in a 10-9 decider at the English Institute of Sport.
Elsewhere in Sheffield, Stephen Maguire thumped Alfie Burden 10-4 and Jordan Brown edged Dominic Dale 10-7.
There were a couple of upsets with Si Jiahui knocking out Tom Ford and Wu Yize thrashing compatriot Tian Pengfei 10-2.
Snooker Shoot Out champion Chris Wakelin won by the same wide margin against Aaron Hill, while Fan Zhengyi denied Ukrainian amateur Iulian Boiko.
Several matches reached their halfway points with the likes of Hossein Vafaei, David Gilbert, and two-time World Championship runner-up Matthew Stevens in control of their ties overnight.
On Monday, the remaining seeds will finally enter the fray – among them British Open champion and world number 18, Ryan Day.
World Snooker Championship Qualifying Draw
Monday, 10am and 7pm BST
Ryan Day vs Ashley Hugill
Yuan Sijun vs Scott Donaldson
Jamie Jones vs Xu Si
Pang Junxu vs Ken Doherty
Anthony Hamilton vs Oliver Lines
Jimmy Robertson vs Ben Mertens
Liam Highfield vs Elliot Slessor
Zhou Yuelong vs James Cahill
Monday, 2:30pm BST
Hossein Vafaei 6-3Andrew Pagett
Martin Gould 4-5 Jackson Page
Joe O’Connor 5-4 Andrew Higginson
Sam Craigie 5-4 David Grace
Lyu Haotian 3-5 Mark Davis
Joe Perry 4-5 Sanderson Lam
Jamie Clarke 2-7 Matthew Stevens
David Gilbert 6-3 Barry Pinches
Anthony McGill 10-9 John Astley
Cao Yupeng 10-6 Ben Woollaston
Noppon Saengkham 10-6 Martin O’Donnell
Xiao Guodong 5-10 Zhang Anda
Graeme Dott 10-6 Andy Hicks
Matthew Selt 10-7 Peter Lines
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 10-5 Mark Joyce
Ricky Walden 10-6 Ian Burns
Tom Ford 5-10 Si Jiahui
Jordan Brown 10-7 Dominic Dale
Chris Wakelin 10-2 Aaron Hill
Tian Pengfei 2-10 Wu Yize
Fan Zhengyi 10-8 Iulian Boiko
Stephen Maguire 10-4 Alfie Burden
Robbie Williams 9-10 Jak Jones
Barry Hawkins 10-4 David Lilley
Featured photo credit: WST