A field of 128 players has been whittled down to 64 after the first round of the UK Championship concluded at the Barbican Centre in York on Thursday.
There was another major upset on day three of the second-biggest ranking event on the calendar, with Neil Robertson crashing out to amateur John Astley.
The reigning champion, a winner of the English Open only a few weeks ago, was never at the races and his defeat carries with it a flavour of irony after the Australian’s comments earlier in the week backing up Shaun Murphy’s claims that amateurs shouldn’t be allowed to compete on the professional Main Tour.
A three-time UK champion, Robertson had been among the notable favourites for glory again this year but will have to watch from the sidelines for the remainder of the 2021 edition.
The majority of the other heavy-hitters in York managed to emerge unscathed on the third day of action to book their spots in the last 64 at the Barbican Centre.
Judd Trump got off to the perfect start with a commanding 6-1 defeat of David Lilley, while Northern Ireland Open champion Mark Allen and Masters winner Yan Bingtao were two other comfortable victors.
Stuart Bingham survived a scare by holding off Dean Young for a deciding-frame win, while fellow former world number two Ali Carter overcame veteran Jimmy White with a 6-3 triumph.
A few other familiar names who weren’t able to last beyond the opening hurdle were Ken Doherty, Liang Wenbo, and Ryan Day.
Three-time finalist Doherty lost 6-3 to Sam Craigie, a scoreline that was repeated in Peter Lines’ defeat of Day, while 2015 runner-up Liang surrendered a 5-3 advantage in being overturned by Andy Hicks.
Martin Gould, Joe Perry, Jimmy Robertson, Jordan Brown, and former world champion Graeme Dott were among the former ranking event winners to make it through, however.
From the international players, Belgium’s Luca Brecel and China’s Zhao Xintong orchestrated respective victories against Xu Si and Yuan Sijun.
Zhao’s countrymen Tian Pengfei and Gao Yang advanced too, while Iran’s Hossein Vafaei dug deep to grit his way past Pang Junxu.
There is a day off on Friday before the championship resumes over the weekend with the start of the second round at the Barbican Centre in York.
Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)
Featured photo credit: WST