Kyren Wilson produced a tenacious fightback to overcome Gary Wilson 10-8 in the opening round of the World Championship on Monday.
Last year’s beaten finalist, the Warrior’s quest to go the extra step at the Crucible this time around appeared in jeopardy as he fell 5-1 behind against his namesake.
But the four-time ranking event winner responded by reeling off six consecutive frames to turn the contest on its head.
And although his opponent levelled at 7-7, the sixth seed won three of the last four frames to advance to round two.
“I’m really pleased with that. I thought it was a brilliant match from both of us,” he told Eurosport.
“The standard’s so high; there are no easy draws in the first round.
“I felt really loose during the first half of the opening session and the table was playing so fast, I thought I just needed to make myself more compact and get control of the cue-ball.
“I lost the first two after the interval to go 5-1 down, but I felt good. I reeled off three good breaks from there and felt strong going into tonight’s session.
“It was just about staying in the moment (when it went to 7-7). I’d have taken 7-7 from 5-1 down, so I kept plugging away.
“The pressure starts to kick in (at 9-8 up), I wanted anything but a decider. I was just desperate to see it out.”
World number six Wilson had won on the five previous occasions that he had met his namesake.
But making his first Crucible appearance since reaching the semi-finals in 2019, the Tyneside Terror hit breaks of 63, 55, 94 and 84 to open a commanding 5-1 lead.
However, the 2020 runner-up rallied with three consecutive frames – including back-to-back centuries of 115 and 139 – to only trail by one heading into the second session.
The Warrior crucially stole the opening frame of the evening on the pink thanks to a nerveless break of 61 from 53-0 down, while a run of 60 helped him move him 7-5 in front.
Former China Open finalist Wilson responded with 71 and 54 to level once more at 7-7, but further contributions of 58, 119 and 73 saw the Kettering cueist over the line.
Meanwhile, John Higgins also reeled off six frames on the bounce; overturning a 7-4 deficit to beat Tian Pengfei 10-7.
Trailing 4-3 overnight, the four-time World champion fell 7-4 behind as his Chinese opponent sought a first-ever win at the Crucible.
After Higgins reduced the deficit to 7-6, the next two frames swung the contest firmly in his favour. First, he levelled after Tian missed a straightforward yellow for 8-6, before recovering from 60-0 down to go 8-7 up on the colours.
The Scotsman then fired in a break of 127 and despite been forced to return for a third session after the players were pulled off early to make way for the evening’s play, he finished in style with a stunning 135 clearance.
“Tian will be kicking himself there; he had more than enough chances,” Higgins said.
“When he was 7-4 in front, I was totally gone. I don’t know how I’ve won 10-7, I really don’t.”
World number 16 Anthony McGill will play Ronnie O’Sullivan in the second round following a 10-5 victory over Ricky Walden
Leading 5-4 overnight, the 2020 semi-finalist came flying out of the blocks with breaks of 84 and 130 moving him 7-4 to the good.
Although three-time ranking event winner Walden responded with 98, McGill took the last three frames to secure a commanding win.
Earlier in the day, Ding Junhui and Jack Lisowski overturned 3-1 deficits to establish 5-4 overnight leads against Stuart Bingham and Ali Carter respectively.
Despite breaks of 131 and 84 from 2015 champion Bingham, world number nine Ding responded with runs of 105, 86 and 88, before taking the last frame of the session in fortuitous circumstances after fluking the final black.
Meanwhile, contributions of 125, 75 and 72 helped world number 14 Lisowski come from behind to edge his nose in front of two-time finalist Carter.
World Snooker Championship 2021 Scores
Monday April 19
Ding Junhui 5-4 Stuart Bingham (L)
John Higgins 10-7 Tian Pengfei (R)
Jack Lisowski 5-4 Ali Carter (L)
Anthony McGill 10-5 Ricky Walden (R)
Kyren Wilson 10-8 Gary Wilson (R)