Ronnie O’Sullivan’s challenge in the World Open is already over after a shock 5-3 defeat to Dominic Dale in Yushan on Monday.
Undoubtedly much to the excitement of his legion of fans in the region, O’Sullivan had entered this ranking event for the first time since it has been staged in China.
However, what was expected to be a routine held-over preliminary round fixture against the veteran Welshman ultimately transpired to be the Shanghai Masters champion‘s only outing.
Indeed, it was the “Spaceman” who sent the “Rocket” crashing out of the competition with a blistering display.
Dale averaged just 19 seconds per shot as he took the game to his illustrious opponent.
The two-time ranking event winner established an early two-frame cushion only to be pegged back to 3-3.
O’Sullivan, at this point, had appeared to have regained the initiative but Dale calmly compiled breaks of 51 and 72 to record his first ever victory over the Englishman in his tenth attempt.
It marks the second tournament in succession that O’Sullivan has bowed out prior to the business end after his last 16 loss in the English Open earlier this month.
Dale progresses to the first round proper to face Fergal O’Brien in a battle between a pair of Main Tour stalwarts.
While O’Sullivan struggled to live up to his billing of favourite, top ranked Judd Trump’s opening statement in the World Open was significantly more ominous.
The world champion accumulated breaks of 104, 80, 70, 69, and 63 to thump Zhang Jiankang in a one-sided whitewash and set up a last 64 clash against Sam Craigie on Tuesday.
Among the other winners on day one in the World Open were Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby, winners of the last two ranking events on the calendar.
Murphy, winner of the China Championship and a finalist in three competitions in total this season in China, overcame Alan McManus while Crawley’s champion Selby denied Anthony Hamilton in a war of attrition.
Luca Brecel, Liang Wenbo, and former world champion Ken Doherty enjoyed triumphs on the opening day too.
The action continues with the likes of home favourites Ding Junhui and Yan Bingtao set to feature later today.
Live coverage continues on Eurosport.
Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)
“The crowd are a little stunned!” 😮
Dominic Dale stuns Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-3 at the World Open 🇨🇳 pic.twitter.com/hBnavphgpP
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) October 28, 2019