WUXI Classic winner Ricky Walden has been knocked out in the first round of the Australian Open on the tournament’s opening day.
Just eight days after winning his second career world ranking event, Walden failed to carry on where he left off in China and lost 5-4 to Jamie Cope.
Cope came from 3-2 down and hit breaks 103, 93 and 73 in three of the final four frames to beat the world-number-10.
Neil Robertson, who has the honour of playing in his home country, delighted his fans in Bendigo with an impressive 5-1 win over Nigel Bond. The Thunder from Down Under began with a bang hitting a superb 135 break and followed up with runs of 81, 92 and 113 to storm into a 4-0 lead.
Bond, a former World Championship finalist, claimed a frame back but Robertson sealed the win with another impressive break of 93.
World Championship semi-finalist Matthew Stevens returned to action after pulling out of the Wuxi Classic due to a back concern and began in winning style beating the dangerous Liang Wenbo 5-3 to reach the second round of the competition.
Ryan Day and Stephen Lee battled hard for victory and both came through deciding frames against Andrew Higginson and Rory McLeod respectively to advance further in the tournament.
Leicester’s Tom Ford also had a good day beating Welshman Dominic Dale. The pair were locked square at 2-2 but Ford took the next three frames to make the last 16.
Elsewhere Cao Yupeng and Alan McManus booked their places in the first round proper beating Johl Younger and James Misfud respectively in the preliminary wildcard round.
Last year’s winner Stuart Bingham will begin his defence of the Australian Open title tomorrow (Tuesday) when he takes on Matt Selt.