It was a mixed opening day for the top 16 seeds as the venue stages of the Scottish Open commenced in Edinburgh on Monday.
The big, albeit unsurprising, news revolved around the withdrawal of Ronnie O’Sullivan on the eve of the Home Nations tournament.
While there wasn’t an official announcement until Monday morning, O’Sullivan had in fact pulled out a day earlier.
But there was still apparently insufficient time for the World Snooker Tour to find a replacement, gifting opponent Liam Graham a bye.
While the prize money and ranking points will provide a welcome boost for the struggling young Scot, he wasn’t shy about voicing his displeasure regarding the situation.
Graham, a professional rookie this season, labelled recent UK champion O’Sullivan as “disrespectful” after what was his sixth withdrawal from a tournament this season while citing medical issues.
“It’s disrespectful what he’s done, it’s not right,” Graham was quoted by the Daily Record as saying.
“A lot of people took time off work to come and watch today and it’s disappointing.”
“At the end of the day I want to play the best players in the world and I was really looking forward to it.
“I had a lot of people coming to watch and it’s really disappointing for them. It’s not surprising given the things he does.
“I found out when I got to the venue this morning. I didn’t have much prior warning, I think he pulled out very late.
“I would have stayed at home and all the people who have travelled to watch me would have come another day as well.”
Elsewhere, there were defeats in the held-over round of 128 for Mark Allen, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams, and Barry Hawkins.
Allen was beaten 4-2 by Jamie Jones only a couple of days after landing his tenth career ranking title with success in the Shoot Out.
Murphy’s period of poor form – his magnificent 147 last week aside – continued with a 4-1 reverse against Liu Hongyu, while Williams squandered a three-frame advantage against Sam Craigie.
Like Williams, Hawkins lost in a decider after being pipped to the winning post by Pang Junxu.
Losses for Robert Milkins and Hossein Vafaei mean that seven of the top 16 seeds have already bitten the dust.
Several marquee names did live to fight another day in the 2023 Scottish Open, though.
World champion Luca Brecel – the 2021 Scottish Open champion – thumped Iulian Boiko 4-0, while Judd Trump matched that scoreline against Sydney Wilson.
Trump is bidding for a third Home Nations crown on the trot having already won this term’s English and Northern Ireland Opens.
Scottish legend John Higgins, two-time former champion Mark Selby, and recent UK Championship runner-up Ding Junhui advanced as well.
Defending champion Gary Wilson is into the last 64 too thanks to a hard-fought 4-3 victory over Elliot Slessor.
Kyren Wilson, Jack Lisowski, and Ali Carter were among the other seeded stars to stay involved.
Later on the first day, Anthony McGill and Matthew Selt became the first players to make it through to the last 32 after respective wins over Oliver Lines and Alfie Burden.
Play continues at the Meadowbank Sports Centre on Tuesday.
Scottish Open draw
Round of 128 (bo7)
Gary Wilson 4-3 Elliott Slessor
Xing Zihao 4-3 Fergal O’Brien
Joe O’Connor 4-0 Andy Lee
Scott Donaldson 4-3 Ashley Hugill
Hossein Vafaei 3-4 Daniel Wells
Rory Thor 4-1 Graeme Dott
Ryan Day 4-2 Jiang Jun
Ashley Carty 4-2 Andres Petrov
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 4-2 Ma Hailong
Chris Wakelin 4-2 Mark Joyce
Yuan Sijun 4-0 Muhammad Asif
Mark Williams 3-4 Sam Craigie
Robbie Williams 4-1 Rod Lawler
David Gilbert 4-3 Jak Jones
Jordan Brown 4-2 Adam Duffy
Kyren Wilson 4-2 Mostafa Dorgham
Mark Allen 2-4 Jamie Jones
Dominic Dale 4-1 Ross Muir
Jimmy Robertson 4-2 Amaan Iqbal
Jimmy White 4-3 Duane Jones
Robert Milkins 0-4 Mark Davis
Andrew Higginson 4-3 Allan Taylor
Zhou Yuelong 4-0 Anthony Hamilton
Martin Gould 4-2 Reanne Evans
Manasawain Phetmalaikuk 4-2 Ben Woollaston
Stuart Bingham 4-0 Michael White
Aaron Hill 4-1 Ken Doherty
Jack Lisowski 4-0 Mohamed Ibrahim
Julien Leclercq 4-0 Baipat Siripaporn
Si Jiahui 4-3 Tian Pengfei
Zhang Anda 4-2 Andy Hicks
Judd Trump 4-0 Sydney Wilson
Liam Graham w/o Ronnie O’Sullivan
Ben Mertens 4-0 Ahmed Aly Elsayed
Sanderson Lam 4-3 Fan Zhengyi
Cao Yupeng 4-2 David Lilley
Barry Hawkins 3-4 Pang Junxu
Xu Si 4-0 Mink Nutcharut
Anthony McGill 4-0 Ryan Thomerson
Oliver Lines 4-0 John Astley
Lukas Kleckers 4-1 Stuart Carrington
Noppon Saengkham 4-0 Rebecca Kenna
Jack Borwick 1-4 Ishpreet Singh Chadha
Ali Carter 4-3 Long Zehuang
Alfie Burden 4-1 Ian Burns
Matthew Selt 4-1 Dylan Emery
Matthew Stevens 4-0 Victory Sarkis
Mark Selby 4-2 Sean O’Sullivan
Shaun Murphy 1-4 Liu Hongyu
Zak Surety 4-1 Liam Pullen
Lyu Haotian 4-2 Joe Perry
Jackson Page 4-1 Himanshu Jain
John Higgins 4-0 Oliver Brown
He Guoqiang 4-0 Peng Yisong
Ricky Walden 4-3 Hammad Miah
Alexander Ursenbacher 4-0 Wu Yize
Liam Highfield 4-0 Dean Young
Tom Ford 4-1 Louis Heathcote
Jenson Kendrick 4-2 Anton Kazakov
Ding Junhui 4-0 David Grace
Martin O’Donnell 4-2 Andrew Pagett
Jamie Clarke 4-2 Xiao Guodong
James Cahill 4-3 Stan Moody
Luca Brecel 4-0 Iulian Boiko
Round of 64 (bo7)
Gary Wilson 4-3 Xing Zihao
Joe O’Connor 4-1 Scott Donaldson
Daniel Wells 3-4 Rory Thor
Ryan Day 3-4 Ashley Carty
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 2-4 Chris Wakelin
Yuan Sijun 0-4 Sam Craigie
Robbie Williams 3-4 David Gilbert
Jordan Brown 0-4 Kyren Wilson
Jamie Jones 3-4 Dominic Dale
Jimmy Robertson 3-4 Jimmy White
Mark Davis 1-4 Andrew Higginson
Zhou Yuelong w/o Martin Gould
Manasawin Phetmalaikul 0-4 Stuart Bingham
Aaron Hill 4-1 Jack Lisowski
Julien Leclercq 2-4 Si Jiahui
Zhang Anda 4-2 Judd Trump
Liam Graham 4-2 Ben Mertens
Sanderson Lam 4-1 Cao Yupeng
Pang Junxu 4-1 Xu Si
Anthony McGill 4-2 Oliver Lines
Lukas Kleckers 1-4 Noppon Saengkham
Ishpreet Singh Chadha 3-4 Ali Carter
Alfie Burden 1-4 Matthew Selt
Matthew Stevens 3-4 Mark Selby
Liu Hongyu 4-0 Zak Surety
Lyu Haotian 4-0 Jackson Page
John Higgins 4-1 He Guoqiang
Ricky Walden 4-3 Alexander Ursenbacher
Liam Highfield 2-4 Tom Ford
Jenson Kendrick 1-4 Ding Junhui
Martin O’Donnell 4-2 Jamie Clarke
James Cahill 3-4 Luca Brecel
Round of 32 (bo7)
Gary Wilson 4-3 Joe O’Connor
Rory Thor 4-3 Ashley Carty
Chris Wakelin 4-0 Sam Craigie
David Gilbert 3-4 Kyren Wilson
Dominic Dale 4-1 Jimmy White
Andrew Higginson 2-4 Zhou Yuelong
Stuart Bingham 4-2 Aaron Hill
Si Jiahui 2-4 Zhang Anda
Liam Graham 3-4 Sanderson Lam
Pang Junxu 2-4 Anthony McGill
Noppon Saengkham 4-2 Ali Carter
Matthew Selt 4-3 Mark Selby
Liu Hongyu 2-4 Lyu Haotian
John Higgins 4-3 Ricky Walden
Tom Ford 3-4 Ding Junhui
Martin O’Donnell 4-2 Luca Brecel
Round of 16 (bo7)
Gary Wilson 4-1 Rory Thor
Chris Wakelin 4-2 Kyren Wilson
Dominic Dale 0-4 Zhou Yuelong
Stuart Bingham 4-0 Zhang Anda
Sanderson Lam 4-1 Anthony McGill
Noppon Saengkham 4-3 Matthew Selt
Lyu Haotian 2-4 John Higgins
Tom Ford 4-2 Martin O’Donnell
Gary Wilson 5-0 Chris Wakelin
Zhou Yuelong 5-4 Stuart Bingham
Sanderson Lam 3-5 Noppon Saengkham
John Higgins 5-3 Tom Ford
Gary Wilson 6-5 Zhou Yuelong
Noppon Saengkham 6-3 John Higgins
Gary Wilson 9-5 Noppon Saengkham
Featured photo credit: WST