JUDD TRUMP and Shaun Murphy both conserved energy ahead of their double-header on Thursday with comfortable morning wins at the German Masters in Berlin.
The pair find themselves in a similar boat at this stage of the season, both looking for a really big performance in a major tournament.
And there have certainly been signs of a recovery in recent weeks after poor campaigns.
Murphy reached the semi-finals at Alexandra Palace looking more like his old former world champion self before running into a fired-up Mark Selby.
And Trump really ought to have progressed further both at the Masters and December’s UK Championship, losing to Marco Fu and Mark Allen despite being the better player.
But there were no such worries for the 24-year-old world No4 Trump against Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham, despite losing the first frame.
He promptly reeled off the next five frames for a 5-1 win, a display that included two century breaks, and next plays Mark King who edged past Dave Harold 5-4.
Trump said: "From 1-0 down I played some good stuff, better than I have been. My game has been there, it's just that little bit of luck to spark things off.
"I love playing in Berlin, it is probably the tournament after the World Championship that I want to win the most. The crowds are good especially from Saturday with the one-table set-up and it would be nice to experience that.
"And I have no problems playing two matches a day, that is perfect for me."
Murphy and Ken Doherty, despite their status as past Crucible conquerors, were on one of the six satellite tables in the main arena.
And world No8 Murphy, 31, matched Trump’s score-line with the matches finishing at almost exactly the same time, running out an equally impressive 5-1 winner.
Murphy was scheduled to meet Matthew Stevens non Thursday evening, after the Welshman also beat Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien 5-1.
Gary Wilson continued his fine recent form, making light of the Table Eight ‘Room of Doom’ or ‘Buddha Lounge’ separate area away from the main arena, depending on who you are listening to.
The part-time taxi driver beat Daniel Wells 5-1, and was drawn to meet Michael Holt next, after he whitewashed Jamie O’Neill 5-0.
World No5 Stephen Maguire beat Mark Joyce 5-1, and was due to play Liang Wenbo in the evening after he came through the all-Chinese clash against Cao Yupeng 5-3.