Defending champion Ali Carter was sent crashing out of the 2011 Shanghai Masters today following a 5-4 defeat to Mark King.
Neither of the Englishmen were at their best throughout a lengthy battle but King produced his most positive result of the season to ease his hopes of remaining inside the top 32 of the world rankings.
‘Captain’ Carter has endured a difficult start to the campaign since reaching the final of the Wuxi Classic and his fellow Essex opponent was able to capitalise to book a second round clash with Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien.
O’Brien beat 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon 5-3 in a battling performance that has typified the Dubliner’s year so far.
The 39 year-old has performed well in most of the Players Tour Championship events and it is a great opportunity for both O’Brien and King to reach the business end of a major ranking event for the first time in years.
The performance of the day came from Nottingham’s Anthony Hamilton, who came from 4-3 behind to knock in back-to-back centuries and defeat Stephen Maguire of Scotland 5-4.
Indeed, Hamilton had earlier in the match fired in a break of 129 – the highest of the tournament so far – and is rewarded with an intriguing meeting with former practice partner Ronnie O’Sullivan.
The Rocket wasted little time in dispatching of Thailand’s James Wattana with breaks of 111 and 110 more than enough to help him coast to a 5-1 triumph.
O’Sullivan looks in the mood recently to perform well on the big stage but will be wary of Hamilton, a player who on his day can be a devastating break-builder – as proven this afternoon.
Meanwhile, world number two Mark Selby failed to get out of first gear in his clash with countryman Nigel Bond but still managed to grind out a 5-3 win while Jamie Cope played better in beating up-and-coming youngster Jack Lisowski by the same scoreline.
In the other last 32 encounters of the day, Shaun Murphy came from 4-1 behind to beat Dominic Dale in the decider and will face Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen for a place in the quarter-finals after the Ulsterman ousted another Welshman, Ryan Day 5-2.