Jimmy White caused the second biggest upset of the first round in the UK Championship as he knocked out top 16 player Ali Carter in York on Thursday.
The 1992 champion trailed 2-1 but won a succession of scrappy frames to move 4-2 in front before taking advantage of his opponent’s typically frail temperament with breaks of 128 and 61 for a shock triumph.
It marks White’s first victory in the second biggest ranking event of the season since 2014 and he’ll be looking to seal a first appearance in the last 32 since 2010 when he takes on Kurt Maflin on Saturday.
The win represented White’s second in succession over Carter, having also beaten him in last year’s Indian Open, but this success on the bigger stage will go down as one of the 55 year-old’s best in recent years.
White’s debut in the UK Championship was all the way back in 1981 and, granted he’s only on the Main Tour because of his invitational tour card after dropping off the circuit at the climax of the last campaign, it’s incredible that he’s still able to mix it on occasion with the big guns.
Carter’s demise was the only major shock to add to Ding Junhui’s unbelievable collapse on the opening day of action on Tuesday, with all the remaining marquee names safely negotiating the initial hurdle.
Ronnie O’Sullivan started his quest to equal Steve Davis’ record of six UK crowns with a 6-3 triumph against Jackson Page while former champions Neil Robertson and Mark Williams hammered Rod Lawler and Paul Davison respectively.
Williams, who last week claimed his first ranking title in almost seven years at the Northern Ireland Open, could still potentially withdraw from the tournament pending the condition of his wife who is currently battling illness.
Robertson, meanwhile, compiled a hat-trick of centuries to begin the championship positively in what is a must-perform week for the Australian because, as it stands, he is set to miss out on an invitation to the prestigious Masters for the first time in more than a decade.
On Wednesday, defending champion Mark Selby came through a tougher than expected challenge from Egypt’s Basem Eltahhan, who won a few new fans before succumbing to the world number one in a close 6-4 battle.
Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Luca Brecel, Mark Allen, Anthony McGill, Liang Wenbo, and Barry Hawkins were among the other highly-fancied competitors to book their spots in the last 64.
Elsewhere, Ireland’s Ken Doherty joined fellow veteran White in the second round, continuing his strong first half of this season with a 6-3 victory over Gary Wilson that included four half-century tallies.
It was disappointment, though, for countrymen Fergal O’Brien and Josh Boileau with the pair exiting to Akani Songsermsawad and Graeme Dott respectively.
There’s a rest day on Friday for all the cueists to recuperate and get ready to make their concerted pushes for glory next week at the Barbican Centre, where a £170,000 top prize is at stake.
Live coverage will be on the BBC and Eurosport from Saturday.
Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)
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