Mark Selby and John Higgins both showed glimpses of brilliance as they reached the second round of the UK Championship in Milton Keynes.
Selby, UK champion in 2012 and 2016, beat Michael White 6-4 and made the highest break on the opening day of the tournament with a 140 clearance in frame three.
Three-time winner Higgins produced a break of 123 in the fifth frame of his comfortable 6-1 victory against Fergal O’Brien and made four other scores of over 50.
World number four Selby led 3-2 and 5-3 and sealed his passage with a break of 75 in the 10th frame after White had reduced the deficit to 5-4.
Higgins was rarely in trouble against O’Brien after moving into a 3-0 lead and although the Irishman took the fourth frame, he failed to register another point in the final three.
Barry Hawkins made half-century breaks in five frames as he strolled to a 6-1 win against Riley Parsons.
Two-time winner Mark Williams cruised through to the second round by white-washing Ben Hancorn 6-0 and former world champion Graeme Dott was untroubled in his 6-1 defeat of China’s Zhao Jianbo.
Jianbo’s countrymen Pang Junxu, Yan Bingtao and Li Hang all progressed to the second round.
Pang upset world number 28 Tom Ford 6-4, Yan beat Sean Maddocks by the same score, with the help of a 130-break in frame two, and Li’s 6-3 win against Fraser Patrick included breaks of 134 and 101.
Leeds’ David Grace, who reached the semi-finals of last week’s Northern Ireland Open, beat Ian Burns 6-4 and Chinese teenager Chang Bingyu produced a break of 136 in his 6-4 defeat of Sam Craigie.
Germany’s world number 111 Simon Lichtenburg was a surprise 6-3 winner against Scott Donaldson, 86 places higher in the rankings, and Jamie Clark squeezed past Martin O’Donnell 6-5.
Earlier in the day, Anthony Hamilton and Ryan Day tested positive for coronavirus and withdrew from the tournament.
The pair were due to face Xu Si and Jak Jones respectively and they received walkovers into round two.
Hamilton, who suffers from asthma, controversially withdrew from the World Championship at the Crucible in July citing fears over plans to admit a limited number of spectators.
But he has played in subsequent tournaments, including losing in the first round of last week’s Northern Ireland Open at the same venue.
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