Snooker News

Duffy Downs Ding in First Round

The UK Championship is only a day old but has already produced a huge upset as Adam Duffy beat Ding Junhui in York on Tuesday.

Ding Junhui

Ding also suffered a shock early defeat in 2014.

The amateur from Sheffield raced into a 3-0 lead and, despite a mini revival from two-time champion Ding, Duffy reeled off another three frames on the trot for a 6-2 victory.

Ding had been one of the pre-tournament favourites and appeared to be coming back into some level of form in the last couple of months.

However, this result is a throwback to the last campaign in which the Chinese star struggled with his game and confidence throughout.

A former professional, Duffy was never going to be a pushover and almost qualified for the World Championship back in April, but Ding was still expected to be far too strong for the Englishman.

The result considerably favours the in-form Mark Allen, who was due to meet Ding in a potential last 16 clash, with that bracket now being opened up somewhat.

Meanwhile, it was a mixed opening day for the Irish contingent contesting the second biggest ranking event of the campaign.

Three-time beaten finalist Ken Doherty was in superb form as he romped to a 6-0 thrashing of old foe Tony Drago in just over an hour.

The Dubliner snatched the opening frame on the black and never looked back, with runs of 132, 119, 84 and 61 in a dominant display against the Maltest ‘Tornado’.

However, countryman David Morris didn’t have quite such a good time as he was downed in a decider by Michael Georgiou 6-5.

At 3-1 and 4-2 up Morris appeared in control of proceedings but, despite a further 136 from the Kilkenny cueist, Georgiou fought back to force the final frame – which he duly won.

It continues a dreadful first half of the season for Morris who has now lost five matches in a row.

This downward spiral also puts him in a perilous position in the provisional world rankings, teetering just above the top 64 cut of players who automatically regain their pro card for the following season.

Elsewhere, Leo Fernandez didn’t have a great time either as he came a cropper against man of the moment John Higgins – losing 6-1 to the Scotsman.

Higgins again looked in good shape as he seeks to add a fourth UK crown to his enviable collection of 28 ranking trophies.

Joe Swail, though, got in on the whitewash action alongside Doherty with the Northern Irishman destroying Joel Walker with a high break of 98.

Aside from that, the other notable scoreline was Sydney Wilson’s 6-5 defeat of Michael White.

In a scrappy game which oddly boasted only three breaks above 50 – all of them 55 – Wilson came from 4-2 and 5-4 down to oust the Indian Open champion.

The shocks will have people complaining that the format should never have been shortened to best of 11s or that the top players shouldn’t be forced to play in cubicles.

But the fact of the matter is that the likes of Ding and White should be winning these matches whatever the conditions and it’s their own fault for not turning up that they have now bowed out before the TV cables have even been plugged in.

Anyway, the majority of the other encounters produced standard enough scorelines.

Australian Open runner-up Martin Gould got his tournament off to a good start with a 6-2 win over Allan Taylor.

Mark Davis and Liang Wenbo enjoyed 6-1 triumphs while Anthony McGill and Gary Wilson were made to work a little harder for their 6-3 successes over James Cahill and Martin O’Donnell respectively.

Jack Lisowski, Jamie Jones and Stuart Carrington all avoided deciders in their 6-4 victories, with Tom Ford and David Grace also advancing to the second round.

Click here to view the full draw.

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