Title-holder Ding Junhui came through a tense battle with Ryan Day to reach the last 16 of the Maplin UK Championships in York today.
The 19-year-old from China completed a 9-7 victory having only arrived in England late on Friday night following his exploits at the Asian Games in Qatar, where he won three gold medals.
And despite his gruelling schedule, the signs were ominous for the players hoping to dethrone Ding for the defending champion was back in the form that carried him to the title last year.
Back-to-back century breaks in the opening session were only good enough to secure a 4-4 scoreline however, and it remained close today as Welsh star Day showed why he is another emerging force.
Four consecutive frames went to the final black as the duo stayed deadlocked at 7-7, before Ding edged ahead by taking the scrappiest game of a high-quality session.
Day then got on a break of 62 and looked set to force a decider, but ran out of position when potting a blue about which he had thought long and hard and missed the next red into the middle.
Ding sank a superb long red to spark a clearance of 57 that pinched the frame by one point - the fifth in six to hinge on the black - and clinched a third-round clash with 2003 champion Matthew Stevens.