Luca Brecel has crashed out of the 2018 China Championship after a 5-3 defeat to Martin O’Donnell in the last 64 on Tuesday in Guangzhou.
The Belgian, who captured a maiden ranking event title with victory in the tournament last year, has failed to live up to the promise that brought him a place in the top 16 in the world rankings – with the 23 year-old suffering a string of early exits in tournaments since.
For O’Donnell, the Englishman earns one of the best victories of his career and advances to a meeting with Tom Ford on Wednesday.
Brecel wasn’t the only major scalp on the second day of action in China as proven ranking event winners Marco Fu and Anthony McGill both exited at the hands of home competitors.
Zhang Anda overcame former Masters and UK Championship runner-up Fu 5-3 while young talent Zhao Xintong continued his impressive start to this season with a 5-4 success over McGill.
In fact, it was a decent day for the Chinese cueists in general with star performers Ding Junhui, Liang Wenbo, and Yan Bingtao all making it through as well.
Ding lost his opening frame to Daniel Wells before reeling off breaks of 89, 125, 79, and 53 for a resounding win while his compatriots earned more hard-fought victories over John Astley and Chris Wakelin respectively.
Added to that was arguably the standout performance of the day from amateur Chang Bingyu, the teenage IBSF world under-21 semi-finalist who added to his prior 5-3 triumph over Jimmy Robertson with a defeat of Robert Milkins by the same margin.
Chang’s reward for his excellent efforts is a meeting with Mark Selby after the world number one recovered from a slow start to overcome Akani Songsermsawad by a couple of frames.
Meanwhile, world champion Mark Williams hammered Ken Doherty 5-0 in a repeat of their 2003 Crucible final, but later bemoaned the conditions after being somewhat surprisingly put on one of the outside tables.
Very very very tough conditions on the outside tables AGAIN. #startingtopissmeoffnow
— MARK WILLIAMS M.B.E (@markwil147) September 25, 2018
Judd Trump matched the Welshman’s whitewash with one of his own over Rhys Clark, firing in runs of 59, 66, 86, and 102 in a clash that took barely an hour to complete.
On his return to action after withdrawing from the Shanghai Masters to be with his new baby daughter, Shaun Murphy comfortably ousted Liam Highfield.
Ryan Day, with a high break of 100, beat Mike Dunn by the same 5-1 margin while Barry Hawkins had a little bit more work to do before seeing off Ashley Carty 5-3.
Elsewhere, 2006 world champion Graeme Dott demonstrated all of his true grit to see off Stuart Carrington on the final black in a tense decider and there were wins in addition for Gary Wilson and Noppon Saengkham.