Neil Robertson exited the UK Championship in the third round after a surprise 6-5 loss to Mark Joyce on Tuesday.
The result means the Australian will fall short of his mission to gain enough ranking points to break back into the top 16 in the world rankings before the conclusion of this tournament and he is now guaranteed to not gain an invite to the prestigious Masters for the first time in a decade.
Robertson began the contest against underdog Joyce strongly, knocking in a 128 break that represented his seventh century of the event and he was later to compile an additional ton amid other breaks of 90, 84, and 79.
However, his English opponent scored well when given the opportunity as well and never looked overawed by the occasion of facing the twice former UK champion.
The majority of the frames were won courtesy of single scoring visits, up until what proved to be a tense decider in which both players had chances to fall over the winning line.
Joyce, a quarter-finalist in 2010, managed to hold his nerve the best, ensuring that Robertson won’t be featuring at the Alexandra Palace in January after a disappointing couple of years on the Main Tour.
The 35 year-old wasn’t the only marquee name to crash out in the last 32 after Judd Trump, Mark Williams, Marco Fu, and Liang Wenbo were all also accounted for.
Trump had begun his fixture against Graeme Dott confidently with breaks of 93 and 78 but the tenacious Scot got on the scoreboard with excellent runs of 86 and a 93 of his own to level at the mid-session interval.
The 2006 world champion then crucially took a key fifth frame on the black to lead for the first time and never looked back, recording tallies of 64, 72, and 67 for a superb success against the world number two.
Northern Ireland Open champion Williams, meanwhile, squandered a 5-4 lead as he fell to fellow Welshman Ryan Day in another deciding frame thriller.
Victory for Day means that his grip on the 16th and final Masters place tightens, although there are still a few players behind him in the standings who could overtake him with deep runs in York.
One of them is Stephen Maguire, with the 2004 champion coming through another deciding frame clincher in what was a dramatic sixth day of action at the Barbican Centre.
Liang was Maguire’s victim and the Chinese, in 15th spot in the rankings, will be another looking over his shoulder hoping that the likes of Day, Maguire and Martin Gould will be denied further progress.
Hong Kong’s Fu lost out to rising teenage star Lyu Haotian 6-4, meaning the top quarter of the draw has opened up considerably.
Riga Masters champion Day is now in a prime position to reach the last four in the second biggest ranking event for the first time in his career.
Elsewhere, Mark Allen completed the Lines double as he followed up his triumph over son Oliver with a second 6-4 scoreline, this time against father Peter.
The Northern Irishman, a runner-up six years ago, will face Joe Perry for a quarter-final berth after the latter overcame Kurt Maflin 6-3.
Finally, China’s Li Hang maintained his improved form from this campaign by hammering Mark Selby’s conqueror Scott Donaldson 6-1 – helped by a superb 134 in the opening frame.
The last 32 reaches its conclusion on Tuesday when the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Shaun Murphy, and John Higgins will be back in action.
Live coverage continues on the BBC and Eurosport.
Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)
Categories: Snooker News