The Englishmen were the latest of the seeds to crash out of this week’s ranking event at the second hurdle.
Ronnie O’Sullivan and Shaun Murphy are both out of the 2020 UK Championship after losing their second-round ties on Sunday in Milton Keynes.
O’Sullivan’s game was sloppy as the world champion succumbed to a shock 6-5 defeat to Alexander Ursenbacher at the Marshall Arena.
Having battled back from 4-2 behind to lead 5-4, it looked as though the seven-time UK champion might survive in this year’s competition.
But the young Swiss challenger held his nerve in the last couple of frames to complete arguably the biggest win of his career.
Ursenbacher is a former European under-21 champion and reached the semi-finals of the 2017 English Open, but he has so far been unable to establish himself as a top 64 player on the Main Tour.
Murphy had an even tougher time of it as the 2008 winner plummeted to a 6-1 reverse against Elliot Slessor.
After taking the opening frame, the “Magician” subsequently lost the next six on the bounce as Slessor compiled a brace of centuries to easily progress.
Several other seeds endured fewer problems and managed to negotiate their way beyond the second round, though.
Mark Selby hammered Liam Highfield 6-1, while Mark Williams and Kyren Wilson recorded 6-2 triumphs against Sunny Akani and Mark Joyce respectively.
That was the same margin in which Jack Lisowski emerged with a victory over Tian Pengfei, in the process strengthening his chances of earning a spot in January’s Masters.
However, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh’s possible debut in the prestigious invitational could be under threat after the Thai was defeated by Joe O’Connor.
Joe Perry and Graeme Dott are among the chasing pack hoping to earn enough ranking points from this event to leapfrog their way into contention for a place in London.
Perry overcame Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo and former world champion Dott beat Mark King, keeping their respective aspirations alive.
Reigning Masters champion Stuart Bingham was a comfortable 6-1 winner against Andrew Higginson, with fellow former ranking event champions Ricky Walden and Liang Wenbo joining the Englishman in the third round.
❌ O’Sullivan, Murphy, Allen, Ding, Yan, Gilbert, Un-Nooh
After all of the world’s top 16 made it through round one, only 9 of them now remain in the last 32 of this year’s #UKChampionship
— Michael Day ⚪🔴🎱 (@ViewCue) November 29, 2020
The performance of the day came from an unexpected source as Lu Ning powered to an outstanding 6-0 thumping of Matthew Selt.
Lu compiled four centuries in a row and could have broken the record for the most tons in succession, only to break down on 81 in the last frame.
Kurt Maflin, Jamie Jones, and rookie Pang Junxu were the other names to advance to the last 32 of the 2020 UK Championship.
The third round begins on Monday with some intriguing fixtures, including Liang’s date with world number one Judd Trump and a battle of the former world champions between Bingham and Dott.
Live coverage of the 2020 UK Championship is on the BBC, Eurosport, and via various other global services.
Featured photo credit: WST