Newly crowned world champion Mark Selby has been dumped out early in the first ranking event of the season, the Wuxi Classic.
The ‘Jester’ was involved in a high-quality affair with China’s Liang Wenbo, eventually succumbing to a 5-3 defeat despite compiling breaks of 119 and 81.
Liang, somewhat of an enigma given his talent, charismatic style but often lackluster performances, produced the goods to inflict the first loss for the Crucible’s latest conqueror.
In fact, it was a good day for the home supporters as there was success elsewhere for the Chinese as well.
23 year-old Cao Yupeng knocked out 2012 champion Ricky Walden while Zhao Xintong outplayed Jack Lisowski to book a place in the last 16 with a 5-2 victory.
While Zhao is evidently an up and coming star having last year reached the final of the IBSF World Championship, Lisowski would have still been expected to have too much for the amateur player.
This was Lisowski’s first loss of the season so it has been a more positive start for the just turned 23 year-old, having celebrated his birthday today, but his inability to consistently overcome the challenge of players ranked below him has ensured that he has as yet fulfilled the undoubted potential he possesses.
There could have been even more joy for the host nation as another young amateur, 14 year-old Yan Bingtao was just narrowly pipped by Barry Hawkins in a 5-4 thriller.
Yan impressed at last week’s Yixing Open, hammering Stuart Bingham 4-0, and looked set for another major upset when he led former World Championship runner-up Hawkins 3-1.
However, the latter was able to grab a stranglehold in the contest and just about managed to avoid what would have been a highly disappointing early exit.
Hong Kong’s Marco Fu, who must be regarded as one of the favourites for the tournament given his great form last season, also progressed after a 5-3 win over Jamie Jones.
Elsewhere, there weren’t too many shocks as most of the seeded players continued their challenge for the title.
That said, an excellent display from Finland’s Robin Hull, who compiled a majestic 139 century break, earned him a 5-3 triumph over Graeme Dott while a nervy clearance from blue to black in the deciding frame granted Alan McManus another victory over fellow Scotsman John Higgins – having ousted him at the Crucible en route to the quarter-finals in April as well.
Meanwhile, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, Judd Trump, Stephen Maguire, Joe Perry, Martin Gould, Michael Holt and Ryan Day are all safely through.
Welshman Day triumphed over countryman Mark Williams and his form of late would suggest that he could potentially be in a winning mood this week.