18 year-old wildcard Lu Ning produced a remarkable display to send former world champion Shaun Murphy crashing out of the China Open in Beijing.
Lu had already beaten promising professional Jamie Jones 5-3 in the wildcard round and backed it up with a superb performance over one of the sport’s most established stars – inspired in front of his home crowd.
The inexperienced teenager had been given a wildcard having enjoyed a similar success in the recent World Open where he edged stalwart Nigel Bond in a decider and appears full of confidence in himself as a potential star of the future.
Of course, the debate will ramble on whether or not wildcards should even be granted in major and established ranking events such as this but it is not Lu’s fault that he is there and, while he is, he may as well give it his all to go out and win.
Remember, a certain Ding Junhui claimed the 2005 China Open a couple of days after his 18th birthday on the back of being given a wildcard and look where he is now.
Lu took the opening two frames in close fashion before Murphy pegged him back to level at the mid-session interval.
It was here where you would have expected the 2008 runner-up to use his experience to surge clear but, on the contrary, it was quite the opposite.
Spectacular back-to-back centuries of 114 and 119 brought the youngster to within one of victory and he showed no signs of nerves in the next to effortlessly complete the unlikely triumph – leaving Murphy with no other option but to applaud and congratulate his promising opponent.
The new Chinese star will play Ali Carter for a place in the quarter-finals after the ‘Captain’ earned a much-needed win with a 5-4 defeat of Welshman Dominic Dale.
Carter has been suffering with illness of late, leading him to consider his future in the game, and incredibly this is the Englishman’s first victory in 2012.
Elsewhere, Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 3-0 behind to beat Marcus Campbell 5-4 to the delight of another excitable audience on day three.
The ‘Rocket’ looked to be on one of his mental walkabouts when he trailed at the mid-session interval but gathered himself following the break to complete the turnaround.
Campbell had chances in most of the frames but never really imposed himself on the former world number one which, in turn, heaped pressure on the Scot as his opponent was gathering momentum.
O’Sullivan’s win is similar in circumstance to his defeat of Andrew Higginson in the German Masters opening round in February – a trophy he went on to claim.
Earlier in the day, Ricky Walden shocked Mark Allen 5-2 in a repeat of their UK Championship semi-final to continue what has been a positive season for the Englishman while Mark Williams, John Higgins and Stuart Bingham also emerged victorious to book their places in the last 16.
Finally, Peter Ebdon notched up an impressive 5-3 victory over Matthew Stevens, helped by a top run of 104.