Eden Sharav
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Shaun Murphy Loses to Eden Sharav

Shaun Murphy became the biggest casualty of the 2019 UK Championship so far after losing to Eden Sharav in the first round on Thursday.

The last 128 reached its conclusion with the majority of the marquee names safely negotiating their opening tests, including defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and world number one Judd Trump.

But 2008 winner Murphy, who has been in good form this season overall, couldn’t find an extra gear and succumbed to a disappointing exit to the Israeli.

Sharav trailed 3-1 at the mid-session interval but won four out of the remaining five frames to record one of his most impressive victories on the Main Tour.

The 27 year-old reached the semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open last year but this is Sharav’s first major scalp in a major tournament.

O’Sullivan and Trump enjoyed routine outings by contrast, each racing to comprehensive 6-0 wins.

The former, seeking a third UK Championship title on the trot and a record 37th all-time ranking event glory, humbled Irish amateur Ross Bulman – averaging less than 14 seconds per shot as he raced to the finish line.

O’Sullivan was on course to complete a maximum break in the third frame but, to the bemusement of some in the audience, chose to pot the pink from the 15th red.

It’s not the first time that the “Rocket” has refused to complete a maximum when being offered the opportunity to do so, and it likely stems from the fact that there’s no guarantee of a reward for achieving the feat this season.

Players instead must compile a collective 20 maximum breaks throughout the campaign if they are to unlock a £1 million bonus – with only four being constructed this term so far.

Trump, meanwhile, wasn’t at his scoring best but managed one century in thrashing inexperienced Moroccan Amine Amiri.

Elsewhere, 2018 runner-up Mark Allen emerged from a tough battle with Jimmy White and he was joined in the last 64 by other potential challengers in Jack Lisowski and Yan Bingtao.

Joe Perry did his chances of a return to the Masters in January a world of good by fighting back from the brink of defeat to survive a 6-5 thriller against Simon Lichtenberg.

Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh also went the distance and fellow former ranking event winners Mark King, Jimmy Robertson, and Michael White progressed to the second round too.

Among some of the other names still in contention are veterans Alan McManus and Anthony Hamilton, as well as China’s Mei Xiwen who denied three-time finalist Ken Doherty.

There’s a day off on Friday as the remaining competitors get prepared for the week-long battle ahead in this season’s opening Triple Crown event.

Live coverage is on the BBC (from Saturday) and Eurosport.

Click here to view the UK Championship draw (Times: CET)

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