It was a bad day for the former UK champions as three likely contenders bowed out on day five of the competition at the Barbican Centre on Sunday.
World champion Mark Selby suffered a 6-2 reverse against Hossein Vaefai while Mark Williams and Ding Junhui were also on the receiving end of unexpected beatings.
The Welshman, who apologised after the match for sensationally drifting off to sleep in his chair during the contest, was pipped in a 6-5 defeat against Anthony Hamilton.
Ding was knocked out by Sam Craigie, with the latter scoring a century break and three further breaks above 50 in securing a 6-3 victory over the struggling Chinese star.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the former UK champions, however, as both Judd Trump and Stephen Maguire managed to safely book their spots in the last 32.
Trump, a UK champion a decade ago, wasn’t at his best but the Champion of Champions winner had enough to see off the challenge of Chris Wakelin, while 2004 UK champion Maguire thumped Tian Pengfei with the aid of several big contributions.
The remaining top-16 competitors in action all also sealed their berth in the third round of the prestigious ranking event.
In the battle of the Stuarts, Bingham overcame Carrington 6-2 and Anthony McGill progressed with a hard-fought 6-4 defeat of David Grace.
I would like to apologise to anyone watching tonight , in 30 years as a pro I have never ever fella asleep in my chair before , it’s was nothing to do with Anthony btw, I just don’t feel well from covid. Bit embarrassing amd not professional. #camtleepmywyesopenatnigjtimafrowd
— MARK WILLIAMS M.B.E (@markwil147) November 28, 2021
Former world champion Graeme Dott, Belgium’s Luca Brecel, and China’s Zhou Yuelong emerged victoriously against Jimmy Robertson, Tom Ford, and Ashley Hugill respectively.
For Zhou, the world number 17 is one of a number of players who remains in with a shot of jumping into the top 16 in time for the Masters that takes place in January next year.
Welsh Open champion Jordan Brown and Cao Yupeng, continuing his solid form since rejoining the tour as a professional this season, also made it through alongside Ricky Walden and Peter Lines.
Elsewhere, one of the ties of the round that unfortunately didn’t feature on the main tables inside the Barbican Centre was the anticipated meeting between Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Zhao Xintong.
The battle between the attack-minded pair did not disappoint, with the young Chinese cueist compiling breaks of 120, 114, 92, 56, and 50 in a dramatic 6-5 triumph.
On Monday, the third round gets under way in York with Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins among those back in action.
Live coverage of the UK Championship is on the BBC and Eurosport. Click here for other available options around the world.
Featured photo credit: WST
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