Barry Hawkins eased through to the main stages of the 2017 World Open after a comprehensive 5-0 whitewash of David John on the final day of qualifying, while Anthony Hamilton was stunned by world number 130 Allan Taylor at the Preston Guild Hall.
World number six Hawkins put his slow start to the season behind him in style with a top break of 129 on the way to brushing aside the player ranked 92 places lower.
After controlling the opening frame, the Hawk doubled his lead thanks to a magnificent break of 129 before a run of 66 put him 3-0 up.
The World Grand Prix champion continued his dominance in the fourth and wasted no time in sealing victory after the interval, with a contribution of 54 doing the trick.
Meanwhile, four-time winner John Higgins made a strong start to his quest for a fifth title with a 5-2 win over Joe Swail – hitting breaks of 54, 69 and 70 on the way to recording an 11th consecutive success against the Outlaw.
David Gilbert and Michael Holt also prevailed without too many difficulties – enjoying commanding 5-1 victories over Rhys Clark and Billy Joe Castle respectively – while Ben Woollaston was a comfortable 5-0 winner against Peter Lines.
However, there was no joy for German Masters champion Hamilton, who was stunned 5-4 following a fantastic turnaround from Taylor.
It appeared to be business as usual when the Nottingham cueist had runs of 93 and 58 on the way to establishing a comfortable 4-0 lead.
Nevertheless, the world number 130 responded emphatically after the break with contributions of 67, 65 and 64 setting up a decider, which he controlled with 52 for a remarkable victory.
Hossein Vafaei also produced an impressive comeback from 4-1 down against Ashley Hugill – hitting breaks of 71, 69 and 93 before dominating the ninth frame to prevail a 5-4 victor.
Eden Sharav was another player to advance via a decider – overturning a 4-2 deficit to overcome Rory McLeod – while Jack Lisowski withstood Xu Si’s fightback from 3-1 down before a break of 67 saw him over the line.
Elsewhere, a magnificent 138 total clearance was the highlight of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh’s 5-1 win over Fang Xiongman, as Matt Selt made two half-centuries in a 5-2 success against Mitchell Mann.
Chen Zhe closed his 5-3 victory over Sam Baird with a brilliant break of 102, while Mark Joyce and Alexander Ursenbacher recovered from 2-0 down to overcome Aditya Mehta and Liam Highfield respectively by the same scoreline.
World Open Qualifiers 2017 Results
Wednesday August 9
40 Sam Baird 3-5 Chen Zhe
41 Mark Joyce 5-3 Aditya Mehta
42 Michael Holt 5-1 Billy Joe Castle
52 Rory McLeod 4-5 Eden Sharav
58 David Gilbert 5-1 Rhys Clark
43 Hossein Vafaei 5-4 Ashley Hugill
45 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5-1 Fang Xiongman
48 Barry Hawkins 5-0 David John
55 Anthony Hamilton 4-5 Allan Taylor
59 Jack Lisowski 5-4 Xu Si
51 Ben Woollaston 5-0 Peter Lines
61 Matthew Selt 5-2 Mitchell Mann
63 Liam Highfield 3-5 Alexander Ursenbacher
64 John Higgins 5-2 Joe Swail