Luca Brecel came through a tough battle against Steven Hallworth, winning 10-8 in the Betfred World Championship qualifiers opening round.
Belgium’s 21-year-old Brecel is one of snooker’s brightest young talents and reached the German Masters final earlier this season, but was pushed hard by Hallworth at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.
Hallworth built a 7-4 lead with a top break of 86 before Brecel won five frames in a row with a top run of 58. The Belgian lost the next before sealing victory in the 18th.
He now faces Liam Highfield, who beat Luke Simmonds 10-2, with the winner to go through to the final qualifying round.
Anthony McGill, a quarter-finalist at the Crucible last season, made his first step towards a return with a 10-1 thrashing of Hatem Yaseen, with a top break of 102. Another former Crucible quarter-finalist, Lee Walker, enjoyed a 10-0 whitewash over Conor McCormack with a top run of 128.
International Championship runner-up David Gilbert compiled breaks of 115 and 114 in a 10-5 win over Rhys Clark.