Stephen Hendry made a winning start to the new campaign with a tension-ridden 3-2 victory over world number 59 Chris Wakelin in the British Open first round at Morningside Arena in Leicester.
The four-times winner – British Open champion in 1988, 1991, 1999 and 2003 – has been drawn against Fergal O’Brien or Gary Wilson with the last-64 matches getting underway on Wednesday night before concluding on Thursday.
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At the age of 52, the seven-times world champion missed a relatively simple brown with the rest on the cusp of a 3-1 win as Wakelin cleared to force the deciding frame, but Hendry held his nerve with both men missing chances among the balls to scramble over the line.
Brown with the rest plus blue and pink were vintage pots from the Hendry canon of the 1990s in his third tournament back having retired in 2012.
The Scotsman acknowledged the support of around 600 fans, the first time he has played competitively before an audience since the Crucible nine years ago.
"I'm very pleased to win the match. It's all about getting the W," said Hendry. "To get the win is great especially in front of a crowd.
Being out there in the pit time after time. I lacked match sharpness. You have to get that feeling back.
"At 2-1 up, I had three or four decent chances to win the match and had half a dozen chances in the deciding frame. Fortunately, Chris made the final mistake.
"Scoring has got to be better, but there is enough there for me to be encouraged by."
Hendry lost 4-1 to close friend Matthew Selt in the first round of the Gibraltar Open on his return in March, but defeated old foe Jimmy White 6-3 in the opening round of World Championship qualifying a month later before suffering a 6-1 loss to Xu Si in the second round.
"I'm hitting the ball really well," said the 36-times ranking event winner. "I'm starting to time the ball a bit better, but if I want to compete with the big boys I'll have to score a bit better. A 47 highest break is not going to kick it.
"That's got to improve."
Mark Selby repeated his world final victory over Shaun Murphy with a 3-2 success against the same opponent he defeated 18-15 to lift his fourth world title in May.
Murphy missed a black to a middle pocket when he appeared set to send Selby, who enjoyed breaks of 78 and 54, for an early exit in the decider.
The world number two will meet two-times world finalist Ali Carter or Lei Peifan in the second round.
"It doesn't matter how you play, it is all about getting through in a best of five," said Selby, who is chasing the world number one spot from Judd Trump at the season's second ranking event after collecting £500,000 for his Crucible win.

Watch the moment Selby clinches fourth world title at Crucible

"I felt a little bit more under pressure in my home city of Leicester because you are sort of playing for them as well. if you lose, they can't come back to support you in the next round.
"Whoever wins the World Championship is always going to have a chance of finishing as number one because the prize money is so much."
Earlier on Tuesday, world number 79 Ashley Hugill completed a 3-2 win over four-times ranking event winner Kyren Wilson, who opened with a 101 but was forced to suffer as his opponent made breaks of 80 and 57 to progress.
"It has to be the biggest win of my career – against the world number six, a really top player, and also my first one on the main TV table in a major tournament apart from the Shoot Out," said Hugill.
I am very happy. I took confidence from my performances in the Championship League and went out knowing I couldn’t back down or shy away.
“I am back to Sheffield tonight where I am based. In practice I am trying to play (Masters champion) Yan Bingtao at least three times a week, and that is doing me good.”
The draw for the second round handed Hugill a last-64 clash with Anthony Hamilton after his 3-2 win over Iulian Boiko.
Former Masters finalist Joe Perry suffered a shock 3-2 defeat to Ben Hancorn with former world semi-finalist Anthony McGill losing 3-1 to Zhao Jianbo.
World number 14 Jack Lisowski also toiled with the shorter format, losing 3-2 to Barry Pinches, who turned professional in 1989, two years before his opponent was born.
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