The impact of Judd Trump’s defeat to Nigel Bond will be realised right through the bottom half of the UK Championship draw in York.
Such was the world number one’s devastating form of late, combined with the fact that he had a couple of routine outings to begin with at the Barbican Centre, many felt that it was almost a foregone conclusion that Trump would reach the business end.
However, 54 year-old veteran Nigel Bond upset the odds with an incredible 6-3 victory on Monday afternoon.
It ended the world champion’s hopes of becoming only the fifth player ever to hold all three Triple Crown titles at the same time.
Reigning UK champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will perhaps be chomping at the bit on the other side of the draw, given the fact he has lost to Trump in the last three finals in which they have encountered each other.
Yet, way before the showdown for glory is determined – and a possible tilt at a record 37th career ranking success for the “Rocket” – there is a huge chance for a number of players to go further in the event than was arguably expected.
Trump’s defeat has obviously given Bond a place in the last 16 and he deserves a lot of credit for the achievement, but it still seems unlikely that the 1995 World Championship runner-up could sustain a deep run.
Bond’s next opponent will be either Joe Perry or Gary Wilson, whose contest now becomes an even greater affair than it already was.
Perry and Wilson are among a handful of competitors who are battling it out for the remaining places in the Race to the Masters.
While Perry currently appears safe in provisional 14th, Wilson is provisionally 18th and requires a run to the final if he were to have a chance of making a debut appearance at the Alexandra Palace.
Last year’s UK Championship runner-up Mark Allen will undoubtedly be the most pleased to see Trump’s premature exit.
The Northern Irishman, who also lost a memorable UK final to Trump eight years ago, has already guaranteed his berth in the fourth round after a 6-1 thrashing of Ben Woollaston.
🗣 “The UK will always hold a place in my heart”@pistol147 has twice made the final. Can he go one better here?
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) December 2, 2019
Allen will be the favourite to advance from his quarter and reach the semi-finals, where a potential opponent could be two-time winner Mark Selby.
Still, Selby’s mini bracket also includes 2004 champion Stephen Maguire and former Crucible king Graeme Dott, with the Scotsmen also set to battle in a tie that has potential Masters implications.
Matthew Stevens, the UK winner 16 years ago, has rolled back the years too with a trip to the last 16 at the expense of Anthony Hamilton, while fellow Welshman Michael White’s confidence may have returned after ousting Mark Williams.
Any one of these players could be galvanised and ready to benefit from the demise of the most in-form player in the game at present.
For Selby, the Leicester man could have just been granted with his best opportunity in recent times to land another piece of silverware at this level.
The English Open champion, with eight Triple Crown titles already to his name in all, faces Martin O’Donnell in the last 32 on Tuesday.
Trump’s defeat in the third round came completely out of the blue after a remarkable spell that has seen him win six rankings events and the Masters in little over a year.
Who will be able to take advantage?