Ronnie O’Sullivan survived a huge scare against world number 100 Darryl Hill before eventually prevailing a 5-4 winner in the opening round of the 2017 German Masters Qualifiers at the Barnsley Metrodome.
The Rocket, who lifted the title in 2012, was on the brink of an early exit as he fell 4-3 behind against the player ranked 88 places lower than him.
However, he rattled off the last two frames to scrape through to the second round by the skin of his teeth.
After winning a closely fought opening frame, Hill started to enjoy himself and a run of 62 doubled his lead after a dominant second.
O’Sullivan, who was beaten by Mark Selby in the UK Championship Final on Sunday, responded with three on the bounce and breaks of 74 and 105 to put him in front for the first time at 3-2.
Isle of Man cueist Hill won the next two to move one away from a famous victory, but his opponent hit back with contributions of 89 and 59 seeing him stumble over the line.
Barry Hawkins also endured a nervous day at the office, as he was pegged back from 2-0 up to 3-3 by Ian Burns before eventually advancing a 5-3 victor.
There were no such problems for Shaun Murphy, who made back-to-back centuries of 127 and 106 in a comprehensive 5-1 win over Daniel Wells, while Kyren Wilson top-scored with 79 as he beat Xiao Guodong by the same scoreline.
Riga Masters finalist Michael Holt whitewashed James Wattana 5-0 – outscoring his opponent by 328 points to 64 – and Andrew Higginson also reeled off five frames without reply against Jamie Curtis-Barrett.
Northern Ireland Open champion Mark King enjoyed a comfortable 5-1 success over Rhys Clark, as did Ben Woollaston and Jack Lisowski against Zak Surety and David Grace respectively.
There was also a first-ever win as a professional for Thailand’s Boonyarit Keattikun, who overcame Scott Donaldson 5-3, but 2016 German Masters finalist Luca Brecel fell at the first hurdle by the same scoreline against Robin Hull.
Meanwhile, it was a miserable day for the Scottish brigade as Anthony McGill, Alan McManus and Graeme Dott all bowed out in the opening round.
McGill and 2006 world champion Dott were beaten 5-2 by Anthony Hamilton and Akani Songsermsawad respectively while, despite recovering from 4-2 down to level at 4-4, McManus was ousted in the deciding frame by Dominic Dale.
German Masters Qualifiers 2017 Results
Wednesday December 7
29 Jack Lisowski 5-1 David Grace
30 Graeme Dott 2-5 Akani Songsermsawad
44 Liang Wenbo 0-w/o Sam Craigie
45 Alex Borg 5-3 Sydney Wilson
46 Alan McManus 4-5 Dominic Dale
50 Christopher Keogan 5-3 Brandon Sargeant
51 Ben Woollaston 5-1 Zak Surety
57 Scott Donaldson 3-5 Boonyarit Keattikun
5 Kyren Wilson 5-1 Xiao Guodong
23 Mark King 5-1 Rhys Clark
24 Jamie Curtis-Barrett 0-5 Andrew Higginson
42 Michael Holt 5-0 James Wattana
47 Yan Bingtao 5-1 Sam Baird
48 Shaun Murphy 5-1 Daniel Wells
53 Barry Hawkins 5-3 Ian Burns
58 Anthony McGill 2-5 Anthony Hamilton
13 Matthew Stevens 5-3 Chris Wakelin
14 Luca Brecel 3-5 Robin Hull
21 Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-4 Darryl Hill
22 Gary Wilson 5-3 Rod Lawler
34 Peter Lines 1-5 Yu De Lu
41 Igor Figueiredo 5-2 Eden Sharav
52 Tian Pengfei 5-4 Zhang Anda
62 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5-3 Joe Swail