Zhao Xintong made a century and five more breaks over 50 as he built a 7-2 lead over Matthew Selt in the final qualifying round of the Betfred World Championship.
Judgement Day runs on Tuesday and Wednesday at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield with the 16 winners to go through to the Crucible for the final stages, which start on Saturday.
China’s gifted 22-year-old Zhao is seeking a Crucible debut and needs just three more frames in the concluding session on Wednesday. He was tied at 2-2 with Indian Open champion Selt at the interval but then won five frames in 48 minutes with breaks of 54, 124, 79, 72 and 51.
Graeme Dott, the 2006 World Champion, was also in fine form as he went 7-2 up on Kurt Maflin. Runs of 70, 84, 68 and 135 helped three-time Crucible finalist Dott surge ahead.
Luo Honghao, one of nine Chinese players in the final round, leads Tom Ford 5-4, though Ford crucially took the last frame on the colours to trail by just one.
Tian Pengfei top scored with 133 as he went 7-2 up on two-time finalist Matthew Stevens. Another two-time runner up, Ali Carter, pulled away from 2-2 to lead 6-3 against John Astley.
China Open semi-finalist Scott Donaldson made a 130 as he went 7-2 up on Lu Ning. Joe Perry made a 127 as he established a 6-3 advantage over Martin O’Donnell, while Li Hang is 5-4 up on Ben Woollaston.
All 16 matches in the final round play to a finish on Wednesday.