Defending champion Mark Selby has crashed out of the UK Championship after a shock 6-3 defeat to Scott Donaldson on Saturday in York.
The world number one appeared to be cruising when he established an early 2-0 cushion in his second round fixture and there were many predicting that a whitewash was on the cards against the young Scot.
Yet, the 23 year-old settled with a break of 88 in the third frame and subsequently grew in confidence as Selby untypically began to wilt under the pressure.
Donaldson, who had lost ten matches in a row in an awful season before his first round victory over John Astley this week, claimed three frames in a row to unexpectedly take the lead for the first time.
Selby responded to level again but a confident Donaldson, a semi-finalist in the Welsh Open at the start of 2017, never looked phased under the conditions of the big occasion.
In front of a packed crowd at the Barbican Centre, Donaldson scored heavily in the final three frames to pull away from the world champion – ultimately finishing with a pot success rate of an impressive 94%.
It will be a huge disappointment for Selby, who was bidding to complete a hat-trick of Triple Crowns having twice won the UK and three times collected the World Championship and Masters trophies in the past.
But he wasn’t quite at his best, as in truth he hasn’t been for the majority of this campaign, and he came up against an opponent who rose to the challenge superbly.
Donaldson, who has never been ranked inside the top 64 in the world rankings, will go on to face Li Hang or Robert Milkins in the third round, buoyed by what must go down as the best victory of his career so far.
Meanwhile, Neil Robertson produced a stunning performance of power scoring to overcome fellow former world champion Ken Doherty 6-2.
The Aussie, who earlier in the week released a heartfelt message about personal problems regarding the mental health of his wife, looked in rejuvenated form as, for the second time in as many encounters, he compiled a hat-trick of centuries in a devastating display of potting.
Robertson is chasing one of the last remaining invitations to the prestigious and lucrative Masters in January, but his nearest rival Ryan Day bagged a win of his own to crucially hold on to the 16th and final spot in the standings for the moment at least.
The pair is in line to meet in what would be a winner-takes-all quarter-final showdown, although there is a ways before this intriguing subplot reaches that dramatic juncture yet.
Day will first face countryman Mark Williams in the last 32 after the Northern Ireland Open champion ousted Andrew Higginson 6-2 while Mark Allen came through a hard-fought battle with Oliver Lines 6-4.
The defeat for the younger Lines puts an end to hopes of a potential father-son third round clash against dad Peter.
Later on Saturday, the likes of Judd Trump, Stephen Maguire, and Jimmy White will be in action.
Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)
I’ve never seen Mark struggle to make the baulk cushion so often as this afternoon
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