Steve Davis crashed out of the Malta Cup at the first hurdle, beaten 5-4 by wildcard Andrew Higginson.
Davis was on the end of the first major upset in Portomaso
Peter Ebdon also nearly made an early exit as he trailed 4-1 to wildcard David Roe but fought back to win 5-4.
Scot Stephen Maguire beat China's Ding Junhui 5-2, and reigning champion Ken Doherty of Ireland beat Nigel Bond 5-3.
Fergal O'Brien saw off Welsh star Mark Williams 5-4, and John Parrott came through his qualifier, edging out local favourite Tony Drago 5-4.
Six-time world champion Davis rallied from 2-0 and 4-2 down, but Higginson kept his nerve, and a break of 67 in the final frame secured victory.
I'm in more control of my game than I was, but I'm still making the odd howler
Former world champion John Parrott
Ebdon fought back with breaks of 50, 60, 39, 46 and 63, and a classy run of 88 in the decider put him through.
The current UK champion said: "It was tough. Dave played very solidly.
"I thought if he had potted a pink in the final frame, then he'd have probably gone on to win."
He added: "I didn't feel too much early on, but at 4-2 down I felt a little surge of adrenaline. Fortunately I just got going in time."
Ebdon now faces Maguire, who hit breaks of 75, 48 and 61 en route to the last 16.
Maguire is a big fan of Malta and said: "I love this tournament. I hate to go home, so I'm trying to win every match."
Higginson takes on Ireland's defending Doherty, who is in confident mood.
"I had a great time last year when I won - and there's no reason why I can't win it again," he said.
Two-time world champion Williams was beaten on the final black in the final frame by Dubliner O'Brien having battled back from 2-0 down to lead 4-3.