Judd Trump's World Championship title defence got off to a winning start as he punished Tom Ford's profligacy in a 10-8 victory.
Despite trailing 5-2 towards the end of a sloppy morning session, the 30-year-old in the end won with a degree of conviction having dominated the match from early on in the evening.
Ford had been made to settle for a 5-4 advantage which could have been 7-2 and surely should have at least been 6-3, and those mistakes - he missed a blue to lose one and a pink to lose another - proved costly as he let his opponent off the hook.
Although the Leicester man led by two after taking the first frame of the evening, from 6-4 he lost six of the next eight frames. Trump was given an almighty scare in the first round last year; this time it was an hour more concern than fear, and it was brushed off easily enough.
In winning, he bagged two centuries - numbers 99 and 100 in an already remarkable season. He'll add one more record if he can find three more during this tournament, to surpass Neil Robertson's existing high of 103. Few would bet against him doing it, though Yan Bintao could prove a formidable opponent in round two.
For now it is job done and while this match did not tell us that the 'Crucible Curse' will be easily overcome, it did at least nullify the worst it, Trump avoiding the ignominy of a first-round exit.
"It was tough," confessed Trump. "I got off to a really bad start, it was always going to be an uphill battle from there.
"A different game to how I've been playing the whole season, but to be honest I've never been a quick starter at the Crucible; I've always had to scrap through that first round, there's always been a very poor performance.
"For me it just takes a little while to get used to the surroundings. It was nice to have some kind of crowd out there, the only day I get to experience that.
"I'm absolutely delighted to get through to that next round. (I) could've easily gone out today."
Slow start for world champion
Trump is bidding to become the first first-time world champion since the event moved to the Crucible in 1977 to successfully defend his crown but he looked in some bother after falling 3-0 behind to an opponent renowned for his scoring prowess as the World Championship began.
That prowess was in evidence as early as the first frame, Ford confidently knocking in 13 reds and 12 blacks and looking firmly on course to kick off the tournament with a 147 maximum break before missing a straightforward black off its spot.
Nevertheless, he wasn't perturbed and with the help of a huge fluke, added a break of 53 in frame two before extending his lead further when taking the third frame.
Trump finally got a foothold in the match when responding with a brilliant run of 104 in frame four and looked much happier when reducing his arrears to 3-2 with another solid contribution, this time a fine 62.
However, Ford again took control of things when compiling his first century of the morning - a clearance of 140 in frame six - and then followed up with a classy hand of 61 in frame seven to suggest he was ready to capitalise on this opportunity.
He would have been confident of ending the session with a healthy lead but when he handed Trump a lifeline in the following frame, the world number one needed no second invitation and hit back with a break of 53.
Ford looked sure to respond in kind when well-set to take the final frame of the morning, frame nine, but he missed a simple pink when closing in on the winning line and Trump again took advantage with a clinical frame-winning and arguably match-turning run of 61.
Class counts in the evening
Granted, Ford won the first frame of the evening, but he lost the next three and two of them carelessly, first after a missed black off the spot and then, in the 13th, when an aggressive snooker escape proved costly and a second bite of the cherry went begging as Trump led for the first time.
Ford did well to level at 7-7 but despite getting in first in frame 15, he opened the door for a sensational Trump century, his 100th of the season and the sort of dashing total clearance (131) which had appeared beyond his reach at times on Friday.
With Ford's luck running out, Trump escaped from two snookers in the next and then came a moment which said much about the turning of the tide. Ford worked hard to earn a look at a mid-range red but turned it down, leaving a half-chance for Trump which he then took, and that was that for 9-7.
To his credit, Ford found one last counterpunch to get back within one thanks to a half-century but there would be no decider for those who had stuck around, eager to see what they could before the doors to the Crucible are again locked on Saturday.
Trump made certain of that, a 41 break putting him the ascendancy in frame 18 before a pair of long reds signalled that he would finish the match much better than he started it. In the end he may well be satisfied at having shown a little grit, loosened the arm, and avoided disaster.
Elsewhere, Ashley Carty gave a really good account of himself on his Crucible debut but still trails Stuart Bingham 5-4 after the first session of their match.
In fact, all four matches which began on Friday went into the mid-session interval at 5-4, Mark Williams trailing Alan McManus and Ding Junhui leading Mark King.
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