Mark Selby made a winning start at the German Masters qualifiers as he saw off Ross Muir 5-2 at the Chase Centre in Cannock.
The reigning World champion hit a top break of 134 on the way to booking his place in the second round, where he will play Ashley Carty on Monday.
Selby won this event in 2015 – beating Shaun Murphy 9-7 in the final – four years after he was runner-up to Mark Williams at Berlin’s Tempodrom.
The Jester fell at the first hurdle of last year’s tournament – going down 5-3 against Fergal O’Brien – and he endured a tight start to his showdown with Scottish amateur Muir.
Despite a run of 72, Selby was twice pegged back by the former professional and went into the mid-session interval level at 2-2.
However, it was one-way traffic upon the resumption of play; the world number two making breaks of 134 and 87 as he won the next three frames to progress.
Elsewhere, there was no joy for Ding Junhui, who was beaten 5-4 by Mark Davis in his first match of the season.
The 2014 champion took a 2-1 lead, but lost the next three frames as former English Open finalist Davis moved to the brink of victory.
Ding dug deep with runs of 61 and 88 to force a decider, but the Battler from Hastings produced a brilliant 119 clearance to prevail.
Despite two centuries of 118 and 102, 2015 runner-up Shaun Murphy required a deciding frame as he recovered from 2-0 down to scrape past two-time ranking event finalist Cao Yupeng.
Former World champion Ken Doherty also advanced after being taken to the wire by Chris Wakelin, while Matthew Stevens recovered from 4-2 down to stun 2016 winner Martin Gould.
German Masters Qualifiers 2021 Results
Sunday October 24
Ding Junhui 4-5 Mark Davis
Gerard Greene 2-5 Sam Craigie
Martin Gould 4-5 Matthew Stevens
Chris Wakelin 4-5 Ken Doherty
Jamie Jones 4-5 Barry Pinches
Michael Holt 3-5 John J Astley
Sean Maddocks 2-5 Ashley Carty
Mark Selby 5-2 Ross Muir
David Lilley 3-5 Kurt Maflin
Cao Yupeng 4-5 Shaun Murphy
Noppon Saengkham 5-4 Jak Jones
Ryan Day 5-3 Jamie Clarke