It’s the world number one’s first defeat over the short distance in more than a year.
Judd Trump is out of the Welsh Open after a 4-2 loss to Hossein Vafaei in the third round at the Celtic Manor Resort on Thursday.
The Englishman, who was bidding for a third Home Nations title of the season after previous victories in the English and Northern Ireland Opens, was denied in a match with a seven-frame format for the first time since February in 2020.
On that occasion, Trump lost to Kyren Wilson in the last 16 of the World Grand Prix, but since then he had gone on an incredible sequence of 28 victories and zero reverses over the distance.
Trump boasted a 2-1 lead over Vafaei, but the latter was unfazed and took advantage of a mostly scrappy affair to advance to the fourth round.
It is the second time in succession that the former world amateur champion has beaten Trump after a previous success at the 2017 China Open.
Trump’s early exit also means that it’s the first time during the 2020/21 campaign that the Bristol potter has failed to reach at least the quarter-final stage of a tournament.
The upset could have an additional influence on the European Series, where there is a £150,000 bonus up for grabs for the player who can accumulate enough prize money over a six-event swing.
Trump currently boasts a lead over Mark Selby in that race, but the “Jester from Leicester” remains in the hunt to narrow the gap following the fifth leg this week after edging Joe O’Connor in his third-round tie.
Elsewhere, reigning champion Shaun Murphy and home favourite Mark Williams are among the others who have progressed to the fourth round.
Murphy, who encounters Barry Hawkins in round four, looked in good shape as he compiled breaks of 133, 87, 75, 74, and 62 in a 4-1 ousting of recent Shoot Out king Ryan Day.
Williams won three frames on the spin to deny Joe Perry and the Welshman will next take on Vafaei, whose confidence will be high after knocking out the pre-tournament bookies favourite in Trump.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is the new 2/1 favourite in the betting market, and the “Rocket” easily overcame his latest hurdle with a 4-0 thrashing of practice partner Martin Gould.
O’Sullivan has won the Welsh Open on four occasions, and you can avail of this William Hill promo code by Betenemy if you think the 45 year-old can go all the way again in 2021.
Meanwhile, Masters champion Yan Bingtao and former Welsh Open winner Stephen Maguire will also feature in the fourth round later today.
Yan takes on Selby while Maguire faces Pang Junxu, who is continuing his fine rookie season with a third run to the last 16 of a ranking event.
Welsh Open Last 16 Draw
Shaun Murphy (1) vs Barry Hawkins
Pang Junxu vs Stephen Maguire (8)
Mark Selby (5) vs Yan Bingtao (12)
Jordan Brown vs Mark King
Hossein Vafaei vs Mark Williams (14)
Jack Lisowski (11) vs Tom Ford
John Higgins (7) / Ali Carter vs Mark Allen (10)
Zhou Yuelong vs Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)
Live coverage of the 2021 Welsh Open is available on BBC Wales, the BBC Red Button, Eurosport, Quest, and by various other options around the world.
Click here to view the full Welsh Open draw (Scheduled times in CET)
Featured photo credit: WST