DAY THREE of this year’s China Open saw Shaun Murphy crash out at the first hurdle in the biggest shock of the competition so far.
The 2005 World Champion lost 5-2 to wildcard entrant Lu Ning earning the 18-year-old one of his best wins of his snooker career to date.
The young Chinese player looked to have blown his chances when Murphy came back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2. But Ning made back to back century breaks of 114 and 119 to put him on the verge of victory. Ning, who knocked out Jamie Jones in the wildcard round, advanced through and sent Murphy packing with a break of 68 in the seventh frame.
Another shock today saw Haikou World Open winner Mark Allen suffer an early exit losing 5-2 to England’s Ricky Walden.
Ronnie O’Sullivan returned to the World Snooker scene for the first time since his Welsh Open semi-final defeat to Mark Selby in February and looked set for a surprise first round exit when he trailed 3-0 to Marcus Campbell.
But The Rocket came storming back to win the next four frames before Campbell levelled the scores at 4-4 to take the match into a deciding frame. Campbell looked the favourite to clinch it when he played safe after a break of 41 but a superb long black set up O’Sullivan for a match winning break of 77 to earn a place in the second round.
O’Sullivan will meet Mark Williams in the next round after the Welshman kicked off his tournament with a comfortable 5-1 win over wildcard qualifier Jin Long.
Stuart Bingham came back from 4-2 down to win a thrilling match against Joe Perry. Breaks of 75, 104 and 65 in the last three frames earned Bingham a meeting with Judd Trump in the next round.
World champion John Higgins sailed through to the last 16 of the China Open thrashing Rory McLeod 5-1. The Scot will play 2002 World Champion Peter Ebdon in the next round after he beat Matthew Stevens 5-3 in another of today’s opening round encounters.
And Ali Carter edged a thrilling first round clash with Dominic Dale winning 5-4. Despite the win, Carter, who suffers from Chron’s Disease reiterated his intentions to retite from the game at the end of the season on medical grounds.