Ding Junhui scraped through to the second round of the World Snooker Championship after edging past Mark King 10-9 at the Crucible, while Mark Williams and Stuart Bingham also progressed on day two.
The Chinese ace was involved in a real neck-and-neck battle with the world number 46 that saw him forced into a deciding frame from 9-7 up.
Nevertheless, despite twists and turns throughout, Ding held his nerve with as he cleared to the pink from the last red to eventually edge his nose over the line.
Leading 5-4 from Friday’s opening session, the world number 11 made breaks of 125 and 119, only for King to respond and level at 7-7.
Runs of 85 and 67 moved Ding to the brink of victory at 9-7 in front, but his opponent hit back in the next frame before fluking a pink on the way to taking the 18th on the black.
Both players had chances in the decider before a loose safety from King allowed Ding to knock in a brilliant long red, which paved the way for a cool 25 clearance that set up a second-round showdown with either Ronnie O’Sullivan or Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
Joining him in round two is Williams, who reeled off six consecutive frames to see off Alan McManus 10-5.
The three-time World champion capitalised on the mistakes of the Scotsman, who was unable to replicate his strong form from Friday’s opening session, with a combination of superb long potting and a top break of 79 seeing him over the line.
Stuart Bingham awaits Williams in the last 16 after the 2015 Crucible king prevailed a 10-7 victor against debutant Ashley Carty.
Holding a 5-4 advantage, ‘Ballrun’ came flying out of the blocks with breaks of 109, 96, 57 and 58 opening up a commanding 9-4 lead.
Carty rallied with runs of 83, 51 and 56 extending his first appearance in the final stages of snooker’s blue-riband event a further three frames, but Bingham held his nerve with 82 to seal the deal.
Elsewhere, four-time champion John Higgins established a 6-3 overnight lead against Matthew Stevens.
Twice a Crucible finalist in 2000 and 2005, Stevens was pegged back three times by world number five Higgins, who then won the last three frames of the session to pull clear.
Meanwhile, Kurt Maflin leads 5-4 against last year’s semi-finalist David Gilbert.
The Norwegian made breaks of 124 and 101 along the way, but a timely 131 in the final frame kept world number 12 Gilbert within touching distance heading into their second session.
World Snooker Championship 2020 Scores
Saturday August 1
Stuart Bingham 10-7 Ashley Carty
Ding Junhui 10-9 Mark King
Mark Williams 10-5 Alan McManus
David Gilbert 4-5 Kurt Maflin
John Higgins 6-3 Matthew Stevens