Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui suffer shock early exits in China
Ronnie O’Sullivan suffered a 6-1 defeat to an inspired world number 53 Yan Bingtao in the first round of the International Championship in Daqing.
The early exit comes just one week after O’Sullivan claimed the English Open with a 9-2 victory over fellow Englishman Kyren Wilson in a one-sided final in Barnsley.
“If Yan plays like that he’ll be very difficult to beat in this tournament. If he can play like that consistently he’ll win a lot of tournaments. He has a an all round game, a good temperament and he carries himself well," said O'Sullivan.
"He has presence around the table – to be a champion you need to portray that image. All the great players won tournaments when they were 17 or 18 so if he’s going to be a great player then he’ll win one soon."
There was another huge shock later on the opening day of the tournament when home favourite and world number two Ding Junhui was bundled out of the event after suffering a 6-4 defeat to world number 62 Oliver Lines, who went through to the last 32 with high breaks of 78 and 71.
Bingtao had needed a 6-5 victory over Wang Yuchen to book his first-round date with O’Sullivan, and the Chinese 17-year-old could hardly have imagined for more perfect showing against the five-times world champion.
“My opponent is a great player,” said Yan. “I played Ronnie once before and lost but it was a decent match so that gave me the feeling that I would have a chance if I played well today. I performed better than I thought I would.
"I think I can beat anyone, but I need to be calm and mature. I learned a lot from my first year as a pro, and I need to be in control and to be consistent. I might beat a top 16 player and then lose the next match playing like different person."
Breaks of 68 and 89 handed Bingtao a 2-0 lead, before O’Sullivan responded with a 111, in what turned out to be the only century of the match.
Further breaks of 91, 52 and 73 were enough to hand Bingtao a 5-1 lead, and he duly dispatched O’Sullivan in the next frame with the Chigwell man scoring only five points in the closing four frames.
Defending champion Mark Selby enjoyed a 6-4 winner against Cao Yupeng.
The world champion trailing 4-3 despite making runs of 115, 74 and 55, but won the final three frames to progress to the last 32.
2015 champion John Higgins was a 6-1 winner over Elliot Slessor producing breaks of 74, 114, 67, 50 and 67 to progress after losing the first frame to a knock of 98.
International Championship first round results (round of 64)
- Mark Selby 6-4 Cao Yupeng
- Shaun Murphy 6-5 Mei Xi Wen
- Robin Hull 5-6 Jimmy Robertson
- David Gilbert 1-6 Li Hang
- Rory McLeod 1-6 Mark King
- Hossein Vafaei 0-6 Akani Songsermsawad
- Barry Hawkins 2-6 Jack Lisowski
- Mark Joyce 6-2 Anthony McGill
- Mark Williams 6-4 Yu De Lu
- Robert Milkins 6-2 Graeme Dott
- Oliver Lines 6-4 Ding Junhui
- Liang Wenbo 6-5 Lee Walker
- Zhao Xintong 4-6 Mark Allen
- Eden Sharav 2-6 Xiao Guodong
- Ronnie O'Sullivan 1-6 Yan Bingtao
- Niu Zhuang 1-6 John Higgins