Jimmy Robertson was frozen out of the first two frames against Judd Trump before fighting back to earn a 2-2 draw with the world number one in their Group A opener at the Championship League.
The former European Masters winner made only one point in the first two frames at Leicester's Morningside Arena as Trump swept home breaks of 53 and 128 to move 2-0 clear on the penultimate day of the event.
But Robertson showed his fighting qualities as knocks of 59 and 63 helped the world number 63 to escape with a valuable point as he bids to climb the world rankings having reached 21 two years ago.
Gilbert ends 22-year ranking title drought with Championship League glory
Trump is favourite to top Group A as he bids to join David Gilbert, Cao Yupeng, Ali Carter, Ryan Day, Kyren Wilson – who is chasing a record third straight Championship League title – and Bai Langning in Friday's conclusion to the season's first ranking event.
Trump's 128 break could yet be a key contribution if players are level on points after their three group matches with Stuart Carrington and Tom Ford next up for the 22-times ranking event winner on Thursday evening.
In the Group B opener, Ricky Walden completed a 3-1 win over Peter Lines, who produced a lovely knock of 115 in the third frame.
The eight winners from the stage two groups will contest two more groups of four before a final is played between the top two for the title on Friday night.
Thursday 12 August
- Group A
- Judd Trump
- Jimmy Robertson
- Tom Ford
- Stuart Carrington
- Group B
- Mark Allen
- Ricky Walden
- Peter Lines
- Fergal O’Brien
'Weird feeling' – Ford ends Trump's Championship League hopes, Allen moves on
'It would be lovely' – Wilson on course for unique treble