Ken Doherty survived a spirited comeback by Hossein Vafaei Ayouri to progress to the final qualifying round for the World Championship on a 10-7 scoreline.
Doherty, who eliminated Andy Hicks in the first round at Ponds Forge in Sheffield, opened up a commanding 7-2 lead over Vafaei with a break of 96, but the Iranian summoned up all his resilience to steadily erode the 1997 world champion’s advantage.
Vafaei won four of the next five frames, racking up breaks of 84, 54 and 57 to close the gap to 8-6.
Doherty claimed the 15th frame but his 21-year-old opponent responded with a fantastic break of 138.
However, the Dubliner ended the comeback with a composed break of 77 sending him to the third round and a clash against Alfie Burden or Ryan Day.
Vafaei’s fascinating back story includes a spell living in Kells and playing out of the Royal Navan Private Members and Snooker Club while he was awaiting a visa to Britain.
China’s Zhou Yuelong leads Doherty’s fellow Dubliner Fergal O’Brien 6-3 in their second round encounter, while Northern Ireland’s Gerard Greene leads 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon 6-4.