Foulds is one of a number of players struggling to stay in the elite top 16 after slipping to 17th on the provisional list for next season. But the 29- year-old Londoner increased his hopes of survival with a 10-5 win over Brian Morgan, of Essex.
Level at 3-3 at one stage during the first session, he then won the next four frames, making a break of 108 in the ninth, and always looked like maintaining his advantage.
'That was a massive improvement on my recent form,' Foulds said. He now meets either Martin Clark or Karl Payne in the last 16. 'I have been playing very poorly since Christmas but I seemed to have straightened myself out in the last few weeks and I came here full of confidence.
'Although I have been in the top eight for the past four or five years, I will regard it as a feather in my cap if I manage to stay in the top 16. It's very important because, among other things, it means you are guaranteed a trip back here next season.'
Thailand's James Wattana had to work hard for his 6-3 first-session lead over Tony Jones. A break of 103 put him 5-2 ahead and he led 71-0 in the eighth frame only for Jones to stage a tremendous fightback and steal it with a superb 72 clearance.
EMBASSY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Sheffield) First round: S James (Eng) bt J Giles (Eng) 10-2; G Wilkinson (Eng) bt D Reynolds (Eng) 10-4; N Foulds (Eng) bt B Morgan (Eng) 10-5; J Wattana (Thai) leads T Jones (Eng) 6-3; T Griffiths (Wal) leads D Roe (Eng) 6-2.Reuse content