15 year-old Yuan Sijun stunned the China Open on Tuesday after inflicting a whitewash 5-0 victory on Martin Gould in the first round.
China’s Yuan had already caused a bit of a sensation by knocking out Andrew Higginson in the wildcard stage on Monday, but this triumph over the German Masters champion – and the scoreline – is even more incredible.
Breaks of 102, 55 and 51 helped the teenager to a memorable victory over the Englishman, one which will surely capture great media attention across Beijing and his homeland.
Yuan has already enjoyed a win on the tour this season before this event but that came in the Asian Tour against a fellow amateur.
His breakthrough this week will inevitably have people comparing him to the likes of Ding Junhui, who won the China Open as a wildcard teen 11 years ago.
The youngster faces former world champion Graeme Dott in the last 32 and it’ll be very intriguing to see how he handles that pressure, if indeed he is feeling any at all.
Whatever happens, Yuan’s opening two triumphs will surely stand him in good stead as he attempts to gain a professional tour card in the future.
Meanwhile, Gould wasn’t the only high-profile name to exit as two-time champion Peter Ebdon, Ali Carter and Mark Davis all took the long journey east for nothing.
Ian Burns enjoyed a surprisingly one-sided 5-0 rout of Ebdon, Mark King continued his solid campaign with a 5-2 success over the ‘Captain’ while World Seniors winner Davis lost in a decider to young Scotsman Rhys Clark.
Carter and Davis’ demise put any of their faint hopes of gaining a top 16 place and automatic qualification for the Crucible beyond reach, likewise Anthony McGill who will join the pair at Ponds Forge for the Crucible qualifiers after losing 5-3 to Jimmy Robertson.
Kyren Wilson and Ryan Day still have a chance of breaking into the elite bracket, though, following respective close encounter wins over Tom Ford and Dechawat Poomjaeng.
The best performances of the day, aside from Yuan of course, came from Marco Fu and Stuart Bingham, who each compiled three tons in their victories over Yu Delu and Sam Baird respectively.
Indeed, world champion Bingham’s stellar 143 total clearance puts him in prime position to top the high break list.
Elsewhere, Isle of Man’s Darryl Hill took full advantage of Mark Selby’s late withdrawal, who he was just to meet in the carried-over qualifying round clash, by beating veteran James Wattana 5-3.
Englishmen Rod Lawler and Martin O’Donnell also emerged victorious to reach the second round while Lee Walker, who knocked out Ding, saw off another home hope in Li Hang 5-3.
Wednesday sees the first round conclude as the matches involving Shaun Murphy and Barry Hawkins, semi-finalists in the Players Championship in Manchester last weekend, were held over an extra day to allow them time to make arrangements to fly over.
The entire round of 32 will also be contested.
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