Stuart Bingham saw off a daring comeback from Thepchaiya Un-Nooh to make a successful start to his defence of the Masters title in Milton Keynes, winning 6-4.
The first two frames were particularly tense affairs. Un-Nooh began the first with a brisk break of 41 but an error and some smart play from his opponent were enough for Bingham to edge it.
Next, Un-Nooh failed to take advantage of an opportunity presented to him early in the frame, leaving Bingham with the opportunity to rack up the first break of substance, 63, to move 2-0 ahead.
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Maguire, Bingham and Bingtao all open with wins in Belfast
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The Englishman was soon in an even more commanding lead, with 114 in the third putting him 3-0 up but Un-Nooh stemmed the tide against him in the fourth.
Undeterred, Bingham fell just short of a century in the fifth, his 95 re-establishing his three-frame lead before came out on top in the sixth frame to leave him one way from the quarter-finals.
Bingham was eyeing a maximum to finish the match once and for all when he inadvertently potted the white after a well-made 64. Un-Nooh returned to the table and made 68 to keep it alive.
Suddenly, there was a degree of pressure on Bingham that had been lacking. A fine long red set the 35-year-old Thai on the way to 80 to make it 5-3, before Bingham failed to take advantage of an error, leaving Un-Nooh to make 113 and cut the deficit to a single frame.
But Bingham regained his composure, punishing a miss to make a timely 67 to book his place in the next round, where he will play either Shaun Murphy or Mark Williams.
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Watch the moment Bingham catches chalk to avoid foul
"The way he plays, the way he came back, it was unbelievable," the 44-year-old said in the Eurosport studio after the match.
"I was a bit jittery there, at the end. Luckily, I miscued and the reds opened up but it fell on a red in the middle.
"I just tried to stay positive. I broke off, he potted a long red. I just knew that if he had a chance, he was just going to go for it. I just had to bide my time and hopefully get a chance.
"I've been playing okay. I still need to get over the line, still need to sharpen up. But I am scoring well, I feel pretty good."
With England back in lockdown, Bingham feels lucky to be able to practise at home. "I'm fortunate, I've got a table in my back garden - it's got a roof over it!
It's a bit Groundhog Day - wake up, breakfast, shower, literally have an hour's practice, back to the room, Netflix, Eurosport and things like that!
"You've just got to try to keep yourself busy. I'm obviously on the phone to the missus and the family, 50 times a day! You've got to keep yourself from going insane."
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